Perceptions of fear

| 28/03/2010

Where I can agree with all or most of the comments about who and what is responsible for the current serious crime in Cayman, I would like to point out some very obvious facts to address some posters who appear to be living on a different planet.

The four contributing factors of crime in Cayman now are: 1) Perception of risk, 2) Confidence in the police, 3) Fear of crime, and 4) Criminal victimization.

Perception of risk from crime influences the confidence in the police because the perception of the disorder and crime on the island  directly influences and effects the island’s population’s perception. Logically, citizens’ dissatisfaction with the police’s performance or lack of confidence in the police is derived from a high anxiety about being victimized in their own community. The interaction between the perception of risk and confidence in the police could provide an understanding of the threat posed to persons in the community.

The fear of crime is a major indicator to measure people’s perception of being victimized. The fear of crime can be measured with two basic questions: How safe do you feel being out alone in your neighbourhood at night? Are there “no go” areas in the immediate vicinity of your neighbourhood?

These two questions are very good indicators of the perceived threat or risk of victimization on you as an individual, based on your interaction with the environment that you live in. Each person may evaluate the risk differently and such a perceived risk may not parallel the actual level of risk in a situation. In contrast, fear of crime is an emotional response to the perceived risk of threat in one’s environment. The judgement of risk involves a cognitive process. The judgement of risk from criminal victimization may be influenced by the prevalence of disorder in an individual’s immediate environment.

The perceptions of personal risk of victimization and perceptions of neighbourhood risk of victimization are linked, due to the present rate of criminal activity in the community. If people perceive their community to be a high threat area they are more likely to perceive themselves to be at high risk. This in turn implies that confidence in the police may play a role in such risk perception.

People or communities who believe that the police perform well at their task or duties are likely to evaluate the risk of victimization as less than those who do not have that confidence in the police. Often those individuals who criticize the police are the people who live in high crime areas and experience, first hand, the insufficient activity by the police.

Confidence in the police is affected by three distinctive factors that contribute to the public’s confidence: Fear of crime, risk of victimization; and safety of your neighbourhood.

That confidence in the local police was predicted by perceptions of crime in the area and perceptions of the criminal’s lawlessness in the community. The perceived safety of a neighbourhood is also found to be significantly correlated with confidence in our police service.

Undoubtedly our law enforcement agencies have to heavily depend upon the cooperation of the local citizen to perform their duties efficiently and effectively, and our confidence in our police is crucial to ask or acquire citizen’s assistance cooperation and participation in a variety of the local community related police assignments or duties. In assessing local citizens’ confidence in the police has special relevance to attempts to implement community policing.

Confidence in the police also has a significant impact on perceived risk of threats relative to satisfaction with police contacts as being a victim or a witness of a crime.

In Cayman financial status/income, experience with crime as a victim or a witness, and confidence in the local police, were primary factors of risk perceptions. Income, in particular, may function as an indicator of the objective level of risk of criminal victimization and concern about safety of the community as well.

In Cayman one can reasonably conclude that lower income residents are more likely to live in high crime areas and are at greater risk of criminal victimization.

In fact, people in Cayman who have actually experienced contact with the police as a victim or a witness tend to expect that the RCIPS can aggressively resolve crime problems in this community, which may, directly or indirectly, alleviate the perceived threat of violence.

A simple act to make people feel safe is if the RCIPS patrolled the neighbourhoods frequently, regardless of their socio-economic status. Another area that will improve the confidence in the RCIPS would be if the RCIPS managed the police-citizens contacts in a satisfactory manner.

The reciprocal relationship suggests that strategies, such as community-based policing, are designed to address the perceived risk of criminal victimization and may also enhance confidence in the RCIPS and finally, added to this dire situation, is the suspicion of corruption which on its own undermines political social and economic stability, threatens security and damages public confidence and trust in the government, which in turn effects people’s daily lives and its consequences and cost are immense.

The Cayman public knows and understands that this is not rocket science. Why can’t the government?

I cannot count how many times we warned senior government as well political officials in both parties about the coming crime and corruption situation. These were reinforced with numerous socio-economic and criminal intelligence reports that they wilfully chose to ignore by listening to their own economic and political interest.

The wilful neglect of such reports (which, by the way, no longer exist — destroyed by Hurricane Ivan, I guess?) along with the dismantling and destruction of certain working units within the RCIPS by "forcing out" of some very capable officers is nothing short of criminal, to be replaced by promoting ‘old boy network’ cronies and foreign nationals with their own political agendas, has also contributed to this dire crime situation and has cost Cayman millions of dollars.

Cayman, the significant challenges we face cannot be resolved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.

 

‘Tempura’s Ghost’ is a former member of the RCIPS.

Category: Viewpoint

Comments (23)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Tempura and Cealt never brought this on bro our own power hungry Caymanians who thought by removing certain people would enhance their power and installing loyal cronies to positions. They neglect the crime situation on the Streets what a real shame Cayman

  2. PaperCaymanian says:

    Basically the criminals know that no-one is minding the store and the general public concurs.I would like to see the entire civil service tested for drugs.Not random testing that can be manipulated but the entire service and at random times. I would think it would thin the ranks a bit.

  3. Anonymous says:

    You missed two other contributors….TEMPURA and CEALT!

  4. Scrooge McDuck says:

    I agree but you missed one important point in your talk about perceptions:  If a criminal element perceives and this goes for anywhere, that a government doesn’t know what it’s doing, and can’t put one foot in front of the other and decisions can’t be made it is emboldened.  This government in particular has backtracked on almost every proposal and every decision made.  And, has chosen instead, to blame very nearly everyone for it’s lack of decision making and direction.  Leaving a void as far as the public is concerned.  I’m sure this hasn’t also escaped  the criminals.  The perception is if the government is helpless then we must be.  This perception must change for our safety and peace of mind. The question is given it’s track record, is this government capable or willing to make a decision and stick with it?  Especially when it comes to fighting crime and violence in our community. 

    The recent statement that the Constitution and Human Rights are in the way is another sad example that doesn’t give us much satisfaction.

    As it sounds suspiciously like.. more blaming. 

    Talk is cheap.  Lives are not.  That’s the message we need to send to our government, and to the criminals.

    Right now.. I support the police.  They are doing something.

  5. noname says:

    Writers name is ironic CNS but a excellent post all the same Congrats

  6. Mi and da crew says:

    An ex RCIPS officer with a criminology background or degree these are the people Baines needs to surround himself with not these I attend a course certificate crowd which never says successful completed and are always in strategic overviews of crime they see it but cant do squat to solve it. In a recent meeting with a chief inspector who is now retiring i was shocked to hear the negative and downright disgraceful comments he made in reference to the RCIPS about it being lost and leadership being taken over by the "White man" and non Caymanians. Yet i can remember what a complete tyrant and he others like him who had power were doing to their own Caymanians. What comes around goes around Chief, enjoy your retirement as those who’s careers you have negatively impacted enjoys your departure surely will. Seeeee ya dont wanna bee ya

  7. justin says:

    How appropriate the poster name just as thought provoking as the article a very positive and informative all around. CNS your post are topnotch as usual.

  8. DJ says:

    I am sure glad someone knows what the heck is going on and happening in Cayman,went to Mac’s meeting in West Bay Saturday night He Building Prisons and Churches and Controlling the Police sure ain’t no solution to this situation i will tell you that well done CNS brillant synopis of Crime Situation.

  9. Da flash says:

    Da Baines write that he self thats my belief it good though he make sense better than the UDP party chairman and all the talk show host put together. Well done CNS and who ever da h*#@ it was Real Deep Bro

  10. kontiki says:

    Kudos to CNS an excellent post and very relevant to our current situation very seldom we see such a thought provoking perspective written. sadly our government and politicians never get it, quite often they same more interested in jostling for power and control of the factors to solve these problems. This poster should be working for the commissioner Baines they same to  have the same train of thought in relation to crime.

  11. meathead says:

    It is clear the poster understands our crime situation inner most workings and its affects and does and excellent job of putting it in context for us so we can understand that their are solutions to our frustrations about the inactions by the law enforcement agencies and our Political arm of government and it also throws coldwater on the premier’s political excuse of not having control over the Police as their interfence into any aspect of these factors would create more dire consequences for the public and the police. Represent the people Mr Mckeeva lobby the people’s support leave the Police work to Mr Baines and his team at RCIPS.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Finally an exRCIPS officer who does want Mr Baine’s head on a block and can see clearly through the dense smoke and cobwebs created by those who are trying to stop change and improvements. Who also has the vision to see that Mr Baines is here to help not hinder Cayman’s Progress.He clearly has a tremendous job ahead of him to fix or remedy these perceptions and the poster clearly states the public participtation is an essential input or part of a successful process. Thank you CNS excellent editing and hosting of such articles.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Thank you CNS for posting such a informative topic and very relevant, this level of discussion is a positive step in the right direction and speaks to the quality of posters now on CNS this should be sent to every single one of our current illustrious polictical leadership who constantly spout out these hocus pocus political&religious and unrealstic solutions.

  14. Anonymous says:

    The writer coined that right Tempura’s Ghost because since they left little has been done to correct the situation at the RCIPS although i have been reliably informed Mr. Baines has now taken steps against a number of serious issues and persons for inept and improper conduct but to date no arrest for corruption which would help restore some confidence mentioned in this post.

  15. noname says:

    This article makes total sense and shows a clear link between the past Leadership of the RCIPS and Political apparatus and would justify why inaction was play of the day. This would make it seem that the hiring of Mr Baines was very timely and essential to combat the current crime Situation.

  16. Anonymous says:

    This is post definately gives a very good argument for the hiring of Commissioner Baines and his potential for solving our crime situation.It also points to the culpbabilty of past leadership and some of the current high command who same to have come into their current positions not by merit or capabilty but by certain connections or belonging to the good old boys which the Cayman public has always aired their concerns about this same bunch in relation to corruption in the RCiPS and Government as a whole.

  17. noname says:

    If this is the quality of officers that have left God help us with what is left at the RCIPS these guys are obviously very knowledgeable of what or current crime situation is it also stands to justify the hiring of a man like the current Commissioner of Police David Baines who talk about this perception sometimes back.

  18. funster says:

    MaCkeeva instead of your fool fool idea of a Supermax prison some where else you need to read this article and ask yourself what can i do to alleviate some of the people’s fears by acting in the public interest for once since you seem to have lost the plot.

  19. funster says:

    Finally a thought provoking and revealing article into the conscience of all the residents of this island far better than the constant political fodder and anomosity we constantly emit from each other

  20. big H says:

    The discussions on this forum far out paces the constant dribble we hear on Austin’s Roosters political drivel show Sterling Dwayne’s culinary delights on Radio Cayman both contain little substance or relevance and stands to remind the Cayman population how certain aspects of our society regard for this island is clearly misplaced.

  21. Anonymous says:

    The quality of post get better and better on this forum a timely and relevant and thought provoking post well done CNS

  22. Rufus B. Saye says:

    Excellent, thoughtful posting – especially after your editing, Wendy – I caught that first [painful] draft [tee-hee]. 

    For thoughtful decision-making:

    "We have nothing to fear but fear itself…"

    OR

    "Perception can be 9/10ths of reality…" 

    But then, to take it to the next level – i.e. action, Larry The Cable Guy says it best:

    "Git ‘er done!!!" 

  23. Anonymous says:

    UK? Good Governance? Unna mus fi mad!