Residents in the Mijall Road and Monument Road area of Bodden Town met with police Tuesday night to discuss setting up a neighborhood crime watch.
The meeting of residents, community members and police was prompted by a spike in burglaries in the area.
The new head of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service’s Neighbourhood Policing division, Inspector Courtney Myles, attended the meeting, along with a panel of officers from the Bodden Town Station, including Inspector Rudolph Gordon, PC Clifford Garcia, PC Lazarus Moraes and neighborhood crime watch member Tony Scott.
Inspector Gordon told residents that police could not protect every boat, every home and every business, but urged those resident to assist the police by forming their own neighborhood watch.
He also told the residents that a stint of robberies had been recorded in Bodden Town, including in the Monument Road area.
He said he had observed that areas with neighborhood watch signs did not have high numbers of burglaries.
“The signs might not stop certain incidents but they would reduce the amount of incidents in the area and act as a deterrent,” he said, adding that most crimes reported in the area were opportunistic.
He is also aware of the lack of confidence that some residents have in speaking with police because of various incidents. He said over his time as a police officer, the majority of his officers are respected, committed officers and he encouraged residents to continue sharing information with them.
“If you do not feel comfortable calling, let someone else call; the police will come to address the issue … we are your friend, we are here to serve and provide the public with the best service possible,” Inspector Gordon said. “Sometimes we get it right, sometimes we don’t, but the police are there to help you.”
Residents suggested investing in CCTV cameras. Police said it was a great deterrent and had assisted them in solving many crime.
One resident said he had no confidence in police following up incident reports. Inspector Myles replied that he would find out why officers were not following up on reports and he would get back to the complainant.
Through meetings like this, he said, police know what’s going on and how they could further serve the public. “I welcome complaints,” he said.
He also told residents to get their local MLAs involved.
Mr. Scott said they could not leave everything up to government. In his community, he said, they put on fundraising events so that people could help others in the community with neighboring watch.
Inspector Myles told residents to publicize the benefits of a neighborhood watch, adding that he saw no reason why they could not achieve the objective of making their community a safer place.
Neighborhood watch initiatives enable police and the community to work together to make specific areas more crime resistant, and to increase awareness and enhance observation skills, he said.
The police also urged citizens to call the non-emergency line when they see something suspicious.