Poor turnout at crime event

| 07/10/2013

(CNS): Despite the recent escalation in violent crime over the last few months, with a surge of gun crimes including robberies, home invasions, door step hold-ups and two murders inside one month, there was a low turnout at a crime prevention seminar hosted by the RCIPS Thursday. Given the comments made by the keynote speaker, Jamaican crime fighter William Shagoury, chair of the Clarendon Crime Prevention Committee, the poor turnout does not bode well in the fight against rising crime levels. According to Shagoury, it is not until all members of a community have had enough and come together to take collective crime prevention action, in coordination with the police and relevant authorities, that crime can be reduced.

Most of the small audience consisted of staff at government agencies or board members of the seminar's partner agencies, the Cayman Islands Tourism Association and the Chamber of Commerce. The man in the street and small business owners were conspicuous by their absence.

Chief Superintendent Kurt Walton expressed his disappointment at seeing so many empty chairs at the seminar, as he too noted that the police are but one spoke in the wheel when it comes to fighting crime and policing by consent. Most of the speakers agreed that crime will only be stamped out when everyone makes it their business to do what they can to prevent crime, report what they see and become involved in what Chamber of Commerce President Chris Duggan described as the “general welfare of society”.

Although Cayman has been facing a gradual increase in violent crime as a result of many external factors, such as the ongoing international war on drugs and economic hardship, the government spends around 20% of its entire budget on fighting crime and the criminal justice system in general. Eric Bush, the chief officer in the new Home Affairs Ministry, explained that this government arm, which encompasses all of the departments relating to security, is the biggest spender across core government.

The RCIPS is one of the few agencies in government that is not facing the level of cuts experienced across government. Armed with a national CCTV system, a helicopter, a specialist marine unit and around 400 officers, the government is maxed out on financing the crime fight.

However, key note speaker Shagoury pointed out that the amount of money spent on fighting crime is not the sole solution. Coming from Jamaica, where budget restrictions are even greater and the crime far worse, he said they would love to have the kind of budget Cayman has for crime fighting. In the end, turning around the crime levels in Clarendon was about that community reaching the end of its rope when it came to tolerating crime.

Shagoury said that with buy-in from the community and a multi-agency approach, the crime reduction committee in Clarendon was able to reduce the murder rate from three or four murders a week at one point to less than half a dozen a year.

He pointedout that poverty is and continues to be a major cause of crime, so injecting money into the community to help develop small and medium enterprises and infrastructure improvements was the first step in the crime reduction strategy. Alongside poverty, he pointed to ignorance, poor levels of education and a lack of access to knowledge and information as another major cause.

The crime fighter also said that dishonesty and corruption among the authorities and politicians, with the development of cultures of dependency, fuels crime, as well as the problems of drug dons filling the vacuum left by the authorities in deprived neighbourhoods. He spoke about the problems relating to children having children and the fact that Jamaican men were falling by the wayside.

Despite the major problems of significant poverty and ignorance, the neglect of the communities, the tolerance of crime and massive distrust of the police, once the community decided it had had enough, the real fight against crime began.

The key, he said, was for the communities to fight crime at the grass roots levels and for the people to decide how to re-build their communities and address the issues of poverty, poor education, corruption, the culture of dependency and drug gangs together. He warned that imposing projects or crime prevention initiatives on the community doesn’t work and that it has to come from the people.

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Category: Crime

Comments (33)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I didn't go because there are better comedy clubs to go to

  2. Anonymous says:

    I didn't even know there was a meeting. Government PR is terrible with this events and announcements. 

  3. Anonymous says:

    Or maybe its just easier to spout off what should be happening from the safety of your armchair with a laptop in front of you like a Monday Morning Quarterback…….

  4. Anonymous says:

    Because they advertised it as a 'crime prevention' meeting. With the same old people. Talking about how good their CCTV system is and how it was worth it to pay their friend's comany all that money. Or how we should all be aware of our surroundings and not be allowed to carry peper spray, etc. And, look, they brought in a consultant to tell us what we've been saying for years. (That it will require more active, community based, policing and social actions.) When the actors change and the producers are ready to change the script then the audience will come back out to see what they have to say. Until then nothing will change.

  5. Anonymous says:

    No Surprise, who want to hear about ways to stop thier kids and boyfriends from bring money home..

  6. Anonymous says:

    Jesus Christ are they a comedy act or what???? The RCIP has a budget of 50 million give or take per annum, approx 400 sworn members, a Helicopter, CCTV, training overseas, investigators coming from abroad when they are overwhelmed, and new cars…..did I miss anything???? Then they scream and relay that they have limited resources and it is up to the community to take the burden of crime prevention and come forth and give evidence. Then they hold a PR meeting with a gentleman from one of the worse places on earth in regards to murder, drug and arms trafficking and violence in general. Then they have the stones to say they are dissappointed in the public. I have news for you, we are beyond dissappointed in the RCIP. I am sorry but this is beyond belief that they could stand there and report this to the media. Look around. I think instead of holding PR confrences, how about Walton and some of the other upper members of this laughing stock get out on the streets and lead us to a community where we are not sitting in our homes afraid of the next noise we hear outside.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, yes, yes and yes!!!  I have no confidence in a police force which has members who can barely put a sentence together, who are basically uneducated.  If you can't read and write you cannot uphold the law, because you cannot read or understand it.  We need intelligent officers educated to a certain standard.  In the US, many officers have some kind of relevant degree.  Plus, to be fair to the Police, I would not go to a armed incident without a gun.  There should be arrmed officers at every station and patrolling the streets day and night.  We have more officers per head than most places in the world, but they must be invisible because I rarely ever see them.  They need to be out in cars, on foot, motorbikes, bicycles at all times patrolling the streets, preventing crime, not showing up 2 hours after an incident.

    • Anonymous says:

      completely agree. Lets not talk about their lack of professionalism when dealing with crimes. They are expecting the public to trust them. Thir lack and abuse of understanding the law speaksten folds. dumba$$e$

  7. Seriously? says:

    I was at the bloody thing and quite frankly kept asking myself "who is this for"? After having to go through no less than SEVEN opening addresses, only to have time slip away and barely get to hear the keynote speaker it was a shit show aimed to stroke the RCIPS' head honchos and the Chamber's overinflated ego. (I will say nothing of the officers whose morale has come into the question, can't blame them).

    Get into the communities, rebuild the trust with the people at the grassroots level, CLEAN YOUR OWN HOUSE which is full of woman beaters and God knows what else, establish some level of accountability and THEN come ask me what I know.  And for the love of sweet baby Jesus stop asking me my damn BIRTHDAY in order for me to make a report. 

     

    eejuts.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I only heard of the half-day event the day before it was due to start! Very poor promotion of it.

  9. Anonymous says:

     

     

    The RCIPS have bred this mistrust.  As we heard reported so horribly last week, the RCIPS again failed to protect the identity of a key crown witness – little wonder there is reluctance to give court testimony.  Seemingly by some arrangement, RCIPS are unwilling to arrest these key "drug dons" that they now openly acknowledge.  Why is THAT reality not investigated by an "Internal Affairs Division"?!?  Many times a day the public witness antisocial, dangerous, and obvious criminal behavior, and it is tolerated by victims out of hopelessness, since it can occur directly in front of RCIPS vehicles and beat officers.  If paid officers are blind to crime with their own eyes, how can we expect more concern when we tell them about other things they didn't see?  How much public input is required when crime is actually allowed to take place directly in front of the eyes of senior police officers and they proceed to drive past or care not to intervene?  Tinted-out cars weaving in and out of traffic and racing past cruisers, just daring them to do something.  Selective enforcement only breeds this mistrust within the public community.  There should be no linkage between the RCIPS' insincere enforcement habits and the public's poverty or education levels, they site as the societal problem.  

    For those few of the 400+ that actually leave the HQ and get out of their cars to take a public report, the reporting victims are required to then join them for a couple inconvenient hours downtown so they can transcribe back into their computer at 5wpm (often at the same time as the perpetrator), then it must be printed off on some museum-aged dot matrix printer, then placed it in a physical paper hanging file folder like it's the 1950s.  It lacks professional courtesy, common sense, and is staggeringly poor record-keeping for the year 2013.  One can call in with further case info, as I have, only when your assigned case officer is working the paper file (which could be a night shift weeks from now – you are expected to divine when their vacation is and shift schedule).  Your paper file does not advance outside of your case officer's working hours, so if he or she works nights, daytime inquiries are not possible.  The further you get from the date of the incident, the less they care about initiating preliminary or follow-up inquiries, and the new unsolved mysteries mount.  

    I have no doubt we spend 20% of CIG budget on police salaries and equipment, but I would not confuse the keeping of selective crime statistics with actual crime prevention or case solving.  It's not that crime is not bad enough, it's that: crime goes so unanswered; with insufficient police intelligence (even common sense) to insulate the victims; and so little resolve to follow-up,  investigate, and solve common caseloads on a day to day basis.  

    Meanwhile, we (the public) are told how disappointed the police are with the public!  How we are expected to finance them and their toys and give them prestige, and to spoon feed them where the crimes are, where the bad guys can be found, and where the evidence is – and it seems if anyone enquires, the police will gladly refer the bad guy's croanies to the victim's house!  Most galling of all, our chief will stand up at the Ritz and boast some delusional statistic to rationalize that crime is currently at an acceptible level or even down on the year!  The RCIPS low turn-out is because the public is worn and skeptical.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Why would we want to turn up to this and listen to some idiot chat to us about crime, we know what crime is and what needs to be doen, the problem is that our current Government doesn't have the ba…s to do it and never will. Yes the police are partly to blame, ot the officers their management, and this is not aimed just at Mr. Baines, this is aimed at all of his management. They sit behind desks (oh sorry on senior officer on patrol for a day) all day coming up with ideas. This incudes our Caymanain senior management as well. Have a meeting to have a meeting to have another meeeting (oh Robery) lets have another meeting for that meeting to meet about the robery. What happened to the days were officersif suspected a drug dealer and or firearm offence could bythemselfs go get a warrant go to the house and kick thedoor down and make arrests? I can tell you the English system of policing, lets talk, mee, talk, meet , talk meet. WE DO NOT NEED TO HAVE THE SIT DOWN CHIT CHATS WITH SOME KEY NOTE SPEAKER, GET OFF YOUR ASSES ON THE STREETS AND DO SOME BEAT PATROL…Alsomost forgot, how much did this cost to do? OUT OF OUR POCKETS!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Anonymous says:

    I was at home setting up booby traps for burglars.

    • Anonymous says:

      Em, unlike the Popo's I actually had to work some overtime to pay CUC.

    • Anonymous says:

      For decades they have been holding Town Hall meetings seeking information

      and looking for ideas. The public have delivered over and over only to be told when something serious happens, oh, you know these Islands are really much safer than other parts of the world.

      we are tired of hearing this kind of reasoning and basically excuses to continue in the same old approach that have never worked and will definately not work now in this day and age.

      You know who the criminals are whare they live, put stratigies in place and conduct covert operations with profesional officers and not chit chatters who even talk in their sleep.

      You all have a difficult job and I wish you all the best and the best for our Islands, but I am concerned that most of us have lost our faith in the RCIPS as it appears you only want information put are not prepared to act before something serious happens, then it become a foot race and round and round you go.  Then what are the results?

      400 officers? for [53,000] fifty three thousand residents thats an average of 1 officer for every 133 people, devide it into 3 shifts of  8 hours.

      now say 10 % are always unavailable  for 1 reason or another, sick, training, vacation etc. that leaves 360 officers available for 3 shifts = 120 officers on duty at all times.

      Now remember these #,s do not include other officers such as customs, immigration, 911, special volunteers etc..  So you see it is not manpower  that is the problem, maybe it is lack of desire to get the job done by prevention methods, rather wait, then arrest, then jail and then what, need more officers. Money $$$$$$$$$$ has never solved a problem yet anywhare in this universe and never will. Dedication and commitment to do any job right the first time is what,s needed in any job to get a desired solution. As a shareholder we need results now. Inforce all Laws 24/7 some individuals may just need an explanation of the law broken and others will need to be ticketed or arrested so B it.

      • Anonymous says:

        Er…no actually, surely it more like this

        400 officers doing lets say 8 hour shifts

        So in each 24 hour period  8 hours at work, 8 hours off and 8 hours sleeping. Lets not mess the figures with holidays and sick yet. So that means 50 officers on duty during any given 24 hour period. Doesnt sound a lot now does it?

  12. CaymanianX says:

    I think Caymanians are more upset with the micromanagement of the island by the police. The police is ticketing and fining people for every single little offense in the book. No discretion whatsoever, and they claim that if they don't penalize for the small offences, is will blow up into larger ones. But that is not the case, what it is doing is making people feel more boxed in and resenting a police officer when they see one. Cayman Islands has 55000 people and around 400 police officers. For this small island, that is alot of officers. What do they do?  Why do much money is being spent on these officers?  And yet they are asking for more, so they say it will help them to fight crime. Look… I bet you if the police service only had 200 officers and it was ran well, crime would have been reduced long time!  Cayman is a police state, everywhere now you see is officers in uniform getting lucrative salaries and for doing what???  Issuing as much tickets and fines on people!  Whilst we have bank robberies and serious crooks about the place, they have officers disrupting parties, blocking traffic, harassing young people because they dress a way. Can't you see why people don't attend Crime Awareness events???  Because they don't believe in the police to protect and serve… rather what the police / anti-business and labor laws do is make life harder for the average Caymanian and creating more enemies among young people. Some laws just need to be revisited and are too harsh. The cost of living is on the increase and what does the government have these toy soldiers do?  They have them go out and make it harder and then they say they are just following what their superiors order them.

    • Anonymous says:

      Glad to hear some punks are feeling the squeeze.  We need more of this, not less.

    • Anonymous says:

      They walk old ladies  across the street and put  together poor police reports os that criminals can get off. N ot difficult work at all.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sounds like you got a ticket and couldn't pull any strings. Welcome to the real world.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree. No one wants to help the police because most people have had these two things: 1) an unpleasant encounter with an officer, and 2) a complaint that was ignored. Some of those encounters may not be the fault of the officer, and many of those complaints may be without merit, but that's the nature of the problem.

    • anonymously says:

      I happy to see at least more than 10 people agree with your comment. The rest are pussies wompers!  So with that said, we are having a party at public beach, you are invited if you want to attend – dress how you want 🙂

    • Anonymous says:

      Legalize ganga and cash pot! No amount of fines or police presense has stopped ppl from engaging in these two things. I know of a lady who was arrested one morning in a police raid for selling numbers and that same evening she was back at it but at a different spot. She has also said some police officer's buy from her too. I see no harm in it. A lil $5 win has helped me many days when I'm broke/bruk. Better that than robbing innocent, hard working ppl.

  13. Anonymous says:

    The low turn out is no surprise, as the people have no more desire for lip service and Window dressing from the RCIP.
    We are fed up with giving information and no result.
    Giving suggestions with only to be ignored.
    Not enough armed police.
    Law abiding citizens not being allowed to have firearms for defense.
    Hearing excuse after excuse.
    The RCIP have been unable to make any meaningful dent in the illegal arms, drugs and gangs. Their response has been to create more victims by drastically limiting the law abiding citizens of this country ability to defend themselves.
    The RCIP is more concerned about public relations than preventing crime. The most important thing seems to be avoiding the headlines “Gun man shot” be it by police or would be victim. It is obvious the RCIP does not mind the headlines of “Person shot by gun man during robbery”.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Did they ever consider that the "poor turnout" may have been because of the day & time that the seminar was held? Why not plan these types of seminars for the weekend when alot of people are not working andhave time to attend?

    • Anonymous says:

      No….poor turn out because the rich are too busy doing other stuff….

  15. Anonymous says:

    There was a meeting? 0_o

    • Anonymous says:

      Why go when it was also a marketing tool for certain private companies…this is the police's responsiblities, not marketing certian company's products and services…the police waste time and money with these meetings…400 police officers and they can't control even 1/3 of the crime???? Some things will not change…

  16. Anonymous says:

    Um, some of us had to work…

  17. Anonymous says:

    What' s the sense in going to this meetings to hear li service. What we need is a revamping of the Police department starting with the Comissioner. We need a new wholesale powerful approach. We have 400 plus police officers on an island 24 miles long? Do the math, should crime be this rampant?

    • Anon says:

      So we can have a cop at every 100 yards?  Hmmmm…may not be a bad idea. That may take care of all the crime.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Maybe scared to leave their home this hour of the evening, or just more hot air of talking and no action on the police.