The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service will begin meeting with local residents to hear their concerns and advice in a different way starting this month.
The police service plans to host a number of “community clinics” at various locations around Cayman during the week of June 22-27. The meeting places are still being confirmed, but will include supermarkets, hospital district clinics and other public places.
“We have decided to take this route having seen the poor turnout at public meetings,” Acting RCIPS Superintendent Angelique Howell said. “We decided to come to the community rather than ask the community to come to us.”
The idea with the community clinics is to allow an “open forum” where residents can speak to the police in a more informal manner, rather than in a public meeting where some individuals may feel uncomfortable speaking out.
Superintendent Howell said the clinics will hopefully “ensure early identification and treatment of emerging community ailments to reduce community impact.”
The effort is also aimed at improving the RCIPS’s public image.
Most respondents to a survey done by the police that was released in March said the RCIPS does not do a good job at reducing and preventing crime. Even after crimes are committed, most respondents said police do a “poor” or “very poor” job at keeping victims apprised of the status of a case.
Respondents to the survey said frontline officers need to get out of their cars and engage more with community members.
The RCIPS conducted the online survey over five weeks in September and October 2014 and nearly 750 people from Grand Cayman and the Sister Islands participated.
More than half of respondents said police did a “poor” or “very poor” job reducing violent crimes like assault, robbery and homicide. Only about 8 percent rated police performance in this category as “good” or “very good.”
While the public perception may be poor, the crime statistics released for the first three months of this year do not necessarily reflect poor performance.
Total crime reports made to the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service decreased by nearly 24 percent in the first quarter of 2015 compared to the same quarter last year.
Offenses considered “serious” crimes by police stayed about the same compared to the first three months of 2014. Reported burglaries, a trouble spot for the department in recent years, numbered 147 in the first quarter this year; there were 146 cases during the same period last year.
According to police statistics for the quarter, robberies increased from three to six, attempted burglaries increased from 15 to 20, and murders increased from one to two cases, all in the first quarter of 2015. Reports of abductions, rapes, attempted robberies, wounding and defilement all went down in first quarter of 2015.
The big decrease in reported crimes came in the area of lesser offenses, often called “volume crimes” by police.
Thefts, damage to property reports, threats and common assault cases all declined significantly in the first quarter of 2015. Theft reports in first quarter 2014 were 190, compared to 123 this year. Similarly, damage to property fell from 99 reports to 58 reports.