The Snug Harbour neighborhood watch initiative is just over six months old, and police are reporting positive results from the program so far.
“The Neighbourhood Watch has had a very positive effect since we formed last May,” said Stephen Symons, coordinator of the Watch Committee, in a press release. “We formed, with the assistance of the RCIPS, in response to a number of burglaries. Neighbours were not aware of the burglaries taking place. People were very concerned when they heard about it.”
The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service attributed a drastic decline in burglaries in Snug Harbour to the area’s neighborhood watch participants, who have a WhatsApp chat group and an email circulation list to let each other know about concerns and suspicious activities.
According to police, 13 burglaries occurred in Snug Harbour in April, with another three happening in May. A man was arrested for two of the offenses in May, and no more burglaries have occurred since then.
“While our police response can explain some of the drop in crime in the area, it cannot account for all of it,” said PC Jonathan Kern, the community beat officer for Seven Mile Beach South, in which Snug Harbour is located. “The Neighbourhood Watch has really had an impact. The residents are active and the Committee extremely focused.”
On Sunday, neighborhood watch participants gathered with police, government minister Joseph Hew, and other government officials to commemorate their early success and inaugurate four new neighborhood watch signs. A new light pole and a speed bump were also installed in the area after residents raised concerns about lighting and street safety.
The RCIPS stated that, for some, the formation of the watch has had benefits beyond the crime drop or even better general safety.
“To see the success of our Neighbourhood Watch has made me realize how important such an initiative is,” resident Lynne Firth stated in the press release. “Not only do we keep a closer eye on activity in our area, we have also got to know our neighbours better, creating a sense of community.”
Mr. Hew congratulated Snug Harbour residents for their efforts in putting together “a very active and successful neighbourhood watch,” adding, “Your results are evidence of the success you can have when the RCIPS, government and residents work together for a safer community.”
Anyone interested in information about how to launch a neighborhood watch can contact the Community Policing Department at 949-4222, or contact their beat officer through the RCIPS website at www.rcips.ky/community.