October 22, 2020

Crime and community safety

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  • Police are only recording 4 out of 10 burglaries and only 9% of attempted burglaries
  •  Many crimes go unreported by the police because they do not record all the offences about which they are informed. Only 40% of burglaries with entry, two thirds of all thefts and less than a quarter of sexual incidents reported to the police find their way into the official statistics.
  •  63% of people perceive that crime is increasing and 50% of people in all areas believe crime problems are likely to become worse.
  • 63% of people (86% of young people) believe long-term residents commit most crime.
  • Burglary rate is very high.
  • The rate of bicycle theft is twice as high than other countries (Europe, USA, Canada, USA and Australia).
  •  1 in 6 women are the victim of at least one sexual offence. (This is likely to be an under-estimate.)
  • One quarter of crime victims do not report them because of lack of confidence in the police.
  • Burglary is a very real problem. The survey will have grossly underestimated its occurrence because burglary of tourist condominiums and commercial burglary were excluded.
  •  Crime prevention measures need to be put in place immediately after a reported victimisation. The chances of being burgled within three to four weeks of the first burglary are over four times the expected rate.
  • It is recommended to set up Neighbourhood Watch schemes in ‘high’ crime localities and target crime prevention advice and resources.
  • Further research is necessary to establish the nature and distribution of crime against tourists and businesses.
  • A separate action plan should be drawn up to deal with crime against women.
  • The police should produce guidelines for those who take emergency calls and dispatch officers to the scene in order to enable them to distinguish between various types of dispute and to establish whether violence has occurred, been threatened or is likely to occur. Questions made during the telephone call could elicit sufficient information to determine appropriate action.
  • An efficient police recording and information retrieval system on domestic and sexual violence is essential. The police might wish to consider issuing clear guidelines to officers specifying that only in cases where there is a complete retraction of the complaint and/or an admission of fabrication or malicious complaint, should an incident be classified as `no-crime’. Accurate records of all reports, proceeded with or not, should be kept.
  • The ability to identify repeat complaints could help the police and social services to identify `high risk’ families or to distinguish cases where crisis intervention is necessary from those where a legal response is required.
  • Suitable accommodation should be available for women and their children who have been subjected to physical and/or sexual abuse.
  • Community awareness should be enhanced through publicity campaigns and information packs. Education campaigns to encourage children to develop appropriate norms and attitudes against violence should form part of a package about crime presented in schools.
  • Property crime and assaults are mostly carried out by young men. An action plan is needed on youth crime prevention. Crime among young people is best tackled early and it might be considered prudent to survey young people for their views on the causes and prevention of crime and what could be done to improve social and recreational facilities for young people. This could be done cost-effectively through schools, church organisations and youth clubs. Effective policy requires accurate information and this is currently lacking.
  • A youth crime prevention panel should be set up.
  • Half of all crime takes place after dark. This suggests that there is a role for improved urban design strategies such as enhanced public lighting and CCTV. These could be installed in public areas which experience most crime and disorder and they could also be effective in improving feelings of personal safety. Combined with a highly visible police presence at troublesome times and places, they could prove especially beneficial in preventing assaults and disorderly conduct. Again, the discussion of targeted strategies is relevant in this context.

All the above sounds like a survey carried out recently. You have probably guessed it was a survey conducted here on Grand Cayman. However, this survey was carried out FIFTEEN YEARS AGO! It was executed by Dr. Kate Painter of the Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom and the survey was conducted between June and July 1996. The report has the title “The 1996 Grand Cayman Crime and Community Safety Survey: Summary of Findings, Implications and Recommendations.” The Foreword starts with: “This report presents the findings from the first Grand Cayman Crime and Community Safety Survey (GCCS)”. The survey says it gathered information about people’s experiences of crime from a sample of 491 households on Grand Cayman. The whole of the report (actually only a brief summary comprising 34 pages of a fuller report containing 174 pages) is available on our web site – www.ieyenews.com

Our editor will be discussing this report in his editorial, wondering why so little of the recommendations (if any) were implemented.

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