iLocal News Archives

The Editor speaks: Miami advice

My recent trip to Miami exposed the differences in police presence compared to here in the Cayman Islands. Whether the method the Dade County Police Dept. adopts produces better statistics than the RCIPS I do not know, as I am not privy to them. I do know their method makes me, as a tourist there, feel safe and my advice to our police force is to at least consider it.

Visiting a restaurant along the area known as “The Miracle Mile” in Coral Gables the first thing I noticed was a police car. It was strategically placed that no one could miss it. A police officer was standing by it watching everyone. Another officer was walking (are you noting I said WALKING) a beat – along one side of the road and then the other. When he returned to the police car he swapped roles with the other officer. Both officers had a friendly smile and a nod if you caught their eye.

The following day I was at a shopping plaza that surrounded a park (the Village of Merick Park). The shops were on three levels and a road went through the centre of the park. Once again there was a police car with two officers carrying out exactly the same procedures as along the Miracle Mile. This time the officer patrolling walked around all three levels.

I do not know whether the stores paid for the police presence but when, a few days later I was down in The Keys, the same thing occurred at all the tourist areas.

In the thirty years I have lived on Grand Cayman I have never seen this, although in my earlier years there were foot patrols in George Town during the day. In those earlier years we never had the crime we have today. A few years ago we had the neighbourly policeman but he/she has vanished.

Now we have the gun crimes (I can’t say we have more crime because statistics will show we have less) and tourists and tourist restaurants are being targeted. We are getting a reputation we don’t want. “Cayman is unsafe.” How have we allowed ourselves to get this? Who is to blame? What can we do?

The first thing is trust. Without that we are doomed. It has to come from the police first. They have to show we can trust them. With that comes respect. They have to show they are doing something. Racing around in new cars and hovering overhead in a noisy helicopter is not cutting any ice with me. We need to see them physically on the streets and our tourists need to be aware they’re there and they will protect them… And us. Maybe take some advice from Miami. It’s where most of us play tourist.


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