Christmas crime warning

| 17/12/2008

(CNS): The new Acting Commissioner of Police, James Smith, is warning residents to take action this Christmas to protect their homes, businesses and property from crime, which often increases at this time of year. “The festive seasonis traditionally a time for people to relax, take a break and enjoy themselves,” said Smith.“Unfortunately, that is not the case for some criminals who see the holiday season as an opportunity. We need to do all we can to make things as hard as possible for thieves and burglars.”

Annual Christmas policing operations include high visibility policing, increased foot patrols and targeting known offenders – all measures designed to help prevent burglary and theft offences from taking place.

“We work hard to identify offenders but prevention is better than cure,” Smith added. “Many crimes can be avoided if some simple security measures such as locking doors and windows are taken.”

In addition, residents are being reminded not to leave valuables and Christmas shopping in vehicles. “Leaving items in cars is an open invitation to criminals,” the commissioner warned and called on the community to report any suspicious activity they see. “If you see something out of the ordinary in your neighbourhood, let the police know, you could help prevent a crime or solve one,” he said.

The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service has issued the following advice to residents:

General Security: Ensure doors and windows are kept locked and secure – even if you are just popping out for a few minutes; Sliding doors are often a popular method of entry – inserting a piece of wood or something similar into the gap to prevent the door from sliding back, should the lock be broken, can discourage potential burglars from targeting your home; Do not leave a spare key hidden under a mat or plant pot;  Make sure keys are kept out of reach of windows and doors; Look out for your neighbours – if you notice something suspicious call the police; Don’t tempt burglars; Keep valuable items out of view; Make sure gardening equipment is secure and not left lying around; Let the criminals know you have taken precautions – if you have an alarm put the box or sticker on show and if you have a dog put up a warning sign.

Holiday security: If you are going away ask a friend or neighbour to keep an eye on your property and ask them to open and close curtains or put lights on to make your house look lived in;  If you are leaving your car at the airport – ask a neighbour to park in your space occasionally;

Security Equipment:  Take a look around your home and imagine you are a burglar. Look for security weak points; Fit locks to windows and doors – if they are easily visible they may deter some thieves;  Consider fitting an alarm.; Mark your goods with your PO Box so that if they are stolen and recovered they can be easily identified as belonging to you.

Anyone with information about crime taking place in the Cayman Islands should contact their local police station or Crime Stoppers on 800-8477 (TIPS). All persons calling crime stoppers remain anonymous, and are eligible for a reward of up to $1000, should their information lead to an arrest or recovery of property/drugs.

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