Nature’s Circle residents in Bodden Town put their feet down and joined hands with the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service to address crime in the area by setting up a neighborhood watch program Saturday evening.
Around 20 people showed up for the group’s first meeting with police on Beach Palm Way off Nature’s Circle.
“If we are aware of what is going on in our community and being each other’s eyes and ears, we can better protect our community,” said Lindsay Wright, coordinator of the watch for Beach Palm Way.
RCIPS Sergeant Cornelius Pompey, accompanied by other RCIPS officers, told residents to make effective use of WhatsApp messaging when fighting crime in the area.
Sergeant Pompey encouraged residents to use the app wisely and solely to share relevant community messages, rather than jokes or rumors. Sergeant Pompey said some people saw neighborhood watch as just a sign, but he said it is neighbors looking out for neighbors.
“You have to be like your own police in your community. Think about midnight when you are at home and the police is not there. You are the ones who must see and hear what is going on in your community. You have to be the eyes and ears, not just for yourself, but also your neighbors, and that’s why its called neighborhood watch,” he explained.
Sergeant Pompey said when you have people coming together as a community and sharing information, it lessens crime and creates an environment where everyone knows each other.
Tony Scott, a neighborhood watch ambassador, encouraged Nature’s Circle residents to set up a committee. He said the watch program has more than doubled since it was started 3 years ago.
Mr. Scott said key points when hosting a committee meeting are setting a time limit of one hour and establishing an agenda.
Watch signs are also important, as they act as a deterrent and keep people from using their area as dumping grounds, he said.
Retirees, he said, could assist by walking and checking out the neighborhood. They will know when people are home from when they are at work.
He told the residents they needed to have that relationship with the police.
“The key is building the relationship within the area,” he said.
Mr. Scott told the group that to do any soliciting for the committee they had to be registered as a nonprofit organization.
Bodden Town East MLA Chris Saunders attended the meeting.
He said at the end of the day, police are a response unit, so it’s important for the community to be proactive.
On registering as a nonprofit, Mr. Saunders said that was one of the issues that the previous government rushed through without going through the thought process that was needed. He told residents he saw some changes to that law coming along.
Other issues in Bodden Town
Mr. Saunders said garbage collection remains an issue. Through a meeting with Minister Dwayne Seymour, he said he learned that some private contractors had been engaged. He was in the process of pushing one private contractor to get Nature’s Circle covered. Mr. Sanders also assured residents the road closure notices they received sometime last year concerning the Beach Bay development had been amended and there would be no road diversions. He was still working on the overall impact it would bring to the community, despite government giving the OK to continue building.
He reminded those present that Hurricane season was now upon us, and those needing assistance with cutting trees should let him know.
“What we don’t want is if a storm is approaching and people are scrambling to get these things done,” Mr. Saunders said.