Neighbourhood watch cuts crime in canal community

| 03/12/2018 | 22 Comments
Cayman News Service

Snug Harbour Neighbourhood Watch Committee with MLA Hew and PC Kern under the new NHW sign (click to enlarge)

(CNS): The Snug Harbour Neighbourhood Watch Committee and residents have reported a drop in crime in their community after creating the neighbourhood watch six months ago in the wake of a surge in burglaries in the waterfront residential area. On Sunday residents and watchers met with their MLA Joey Hew and RCIPS Community Beat Officer PC Jonathan Kern to inaugurate four new signs marking their watch area. “The neighbourhood watch has had a very positive effect since we formed last May,” said Stephen Symons, Coordinator of the Watch Committee.

“We formed, with the assistance of the RCIPS, in response to a number of burglaries. Neighbours were not aware of the burglaries taking place. People were very concerned when they heard about it. We had a great showing at the initial community meeting, and from there people volunteered to be on the committee.”

Symons added, “The WhatsApp groups and email circulation list grew, with people letting one another know and requesting to be added. To me the watch has been a real success. Personally, it seems that people feel much safer now knowing their neighbours are looking out for them.”

With 13 burglaries reported in April alone and three more in May, the Snug Harbour residents felt they had to act. One man was arrested and charged for two of the burglaries in May and is currently on remand, and there have been no further burglaries in the neighbourhood since the watch was formed.

“While our police response can explain some of the drop in crime in the area, it cannot account for all of it,” said PC Jonathan Kern, the community beat officer for the area that includes Snug Harbour.

“The neighbourhood watch has really had an impact. The residents are active and the committee extremely focused. They have launched Whatsapp discussion and alerts groups, which I also monitor, and residents throughout the neighbourhood are in close contact about anything that looks suspicious, or just common problems, like roaming dogs. They are quite organised. This has very much been a community effort,” he said, adding that the collaborative approach to solving the problem was evident.

Since its launch, the Neighbourhood Watch Group has not only fostered more communication and attention to suspicious activity in the area, it has also taken proactive steps to prevent crime and create a safer environment, the RCIPS said.

It reached out to MLA Hew, the CUC and NRA to address lighting and street safety in the neighbourhood, and an additional light pole was installed at the entrance to the neighbourhood and a speed bump on a stretch of road where residents had concerns.

Hew congratulated the residents for their efforts in the  active and successful neighbourhood watch. “Your results are evidence of the success you can have when the RCIPS, government and residents work together for a safer community,” he said.

Symons said the watch group was grateful to everyone who has helped and thanked the committee and community for making it a success.

“We are the eyes and ears for one another,” he said. “We know the community and know when something seems suspicious and we share that information with one another. When required we can alert our community officer and he can check into it. For it to work and be effective the community must get on board and own it, and we have done that in Snug Harbour.”

Lynne Firth, one of the residents, said the watch had gone beyond cutting crime.

“To see the success of our neighbourhood watch has made me realise how important such an initiative is.  Not only do we keep a closer eye on activity in our area; we have also got to know our neighbours better, creating a sense of community,” she added.

Anyone interested in information about how to launch a neighbourhood watch should contact the Community Policing Department at 949-4222, or contact their beat officer through the RCIPS website.

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Category: Crime, Crime Prevention

Comments (22)

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  1. Chet Oswald Ebanks says:

    Cayman Islands not for Caymanians anymore. Just look around, we Caymanians are the minority. Thanks to Mr. Alden McLaughlin and his bunch of so called Government for the last two elections. Can’t wait till the UK come in and take over. Come next election, we Caymanians that can vote, everyone of us need to vote and vote ALL 19 THEM OUT AND START FRESH. WITH YOUNG CAYMANIANS, THAT ACTUALLY CARE ABOUT US AND OUR COUNTRY.

  2. Mike says:

    “after creating the neighbourhood watch six months ago”. My problem is that for decades I have been reading about one or another neighbourhood watch being set up, and I am damn sure some of them have been “set up” several times over the years simply because the RCIP fail to maintain them and they drift into total inactivity, and then along comes the RCIP and with media coverage, set them up all over again. Nice media bites, but is that not a full time function of Community Policing, which I recall has itself been reinvented several times by various, and usually new, Commissioners of Police trying to make a name for themselves. I can recall Commissioner Thursfield’s great effort years ago to get Community Policing on a firm footing, only to see several successors allow it to collapse by diverting manpower to pet projects of their’s.

    When is this repetetive cycle going to end, and Community Policing given the priority it deserves permanently?

    • Anonymous says:

      As long as Commissioners continue to change, priorities will change. Hopefully the obvious benefits (along with continuous media coverage) for the current incarnation of the CPD will result in gutting the unit being a no go for any future Commissioner, in part due to political will and public sentiment.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Any excuse to stoke up some anti-local / anti-expat sentiment. I have a sneaking suspicion that those writing these incendiary comments are not actually ex-pats.

  4. Anonymous says:

    You think the fact that the guy that was doing the burglaries was caught and locked up might have something to do with drop?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Our street and circle has this and it works very well. And that’s only one street!

    • Anonymous says:

      Neighborhood watch promotes racisim.

      • Anonymous says:

        Only if whites are causing all the crime. Blacks get an entitled pass.

      • Anonymous says:

        I guess law and order is racist then.

      • Anonymous says:

        Head in sand

      • Anonymous says:

        2:40pm I think you posted this merely to get a reaction.
        I am the original poster @ 04/12/2018 at 11:37 am and I can state that I live in a predominantly Caymanian owned property neighborhood (If that makes sense? Meaning some are rentals) Property values and ages of a wide range. It has worked well for many years with no complaints. It’s a shame you feel it promotes racism that we look out for one another.

    • Anonymous says:

      I didn’t know racism changed it’s dictionary meaning, if racism is keeping uninvited persons out of my yard and my house, hell yah. Black, brown, white, and blue all of unna gonna catch a swing from by cutlass!

  6. Ron Ebanks says:

    I wonder if the Neighborhood watch is placing FedEx Shipping boxes full of rocks by their house doors and cameras and people watching them .

  7. Anonymous says:

    More proper gated communities are required to protect the professional classes from the rampant local criminality.

    • Anonymous says:

      We wouldn’t be so bad if you expats weren’t here. -West Bayer.

      • Anonymous says:

        Both these comments serve no purpose. You responding to the person who posted is just as bad.

      • Anon says:

        @9:33am – is that because only white people have money? Your comment reeks racism. The average ex-pat that lives on the island “normally” does so in a peaceful manner so they don’t end up with a police record and end up having their work permit revoked or refused.

      • Anonymous says:

        @9:33am: Your attitude obviously shows your lack of care for community involvement to assist the Police in the issue of crime . Stay in West Bay , we’ve got this.

    • Anonymous says:

      What utter tosh. Perhaps all communities, involving any classes, need more Neighbourhood Watch schemes to deter criminals, whoever they are. No good blaming lack of policing all the time but then doing nothing to help.

      • Anonymous says:

        Exactly! Just the mere act of being more involved with the RCIPS can make a significant impact on criminal activity in a neighbourhood. Sure, we have to give up a little of our precious time. Most things that matter involve some commitment.

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