Police urge the public to remain vigilant over holidays

| 13/12/2023 | 9 Comments
Cayman News Service
RCIPS community police officers conduct business patrol checks in West Bay (file photo)

(CNS): As the RCIPS increases the number of beat officers on the streets and the visibility of other units, including the firearms response team and the traffic cops, senior police management is urging the public to increase their own vigilance over Christmas and New Year. The goal of Winter Guardian, the annual crime and road safety operation, is to keep people safe at a time of year when crime and bad driving can often get worse. Chief Superintendent Brad Ebanks said he was encouraging the public to work with the RCIPS again this season and listen to their advice and warnings.

Winter Guardian, which began on Friday night, will involve intensified road enforcement operations, increased community foot patrols and high visibility mobile patrols. In addition, the police will run crime prevention and road safety education and awareness campaigns.

“The festive season is also our peak visitor season, which, combined with an increase in events and holiday gatherings, results in increased activity on our roads, in businesses and anywhere people gather to socialise, and so our holiday safety campaign is about providing reassurance, and deterring crime,” said CS Ebanks. “We conduct these activities throughout the year, but during this time period, a more strategic approach is required.”

The public can expect to see increased foot patrols around commercial shopping areas and within residential communities. This will be supported by ongoing efforts to target and reduce criminal activity by continuing high-visibility patrols carried out by our specialist units, including the Firearms Response Unit. 

“We thank the public for their ongoing support and patience while we are conducting these activities, such as vehicle checkpoints,” Ebanks said, adding that it was important to keep the pressure on offenders to stifle criminal activity.

Police are also urging residents to be alert to financial crime, which tends to increase over the holiday season, particularly credit card fraud, business email compromise and social media scams. Individuals and businesses alike should pay close attention to debit and credit card transactions and frequently check activities for any inaccuracies. People should also be alert to emails or messages received from businesses asking for passwords or bank account details.

The Financial Crimes Unit warned people never to give out those details, and anyone unsure of the legitimacy of any communication should check directly with the business concerned. Social media scams are becoming more common, and the holiday season brings an increase in this type of activity on Facebook and other social media platforms, offering “investment opportunities” under the guise of building a trusted friendship with the victim.

As police increase their presence in both residential and commercial areas of the community, they said the public must be cautious and vigilant when out shopping and place shopping bags and other valuable items out of public view when stored in a vehicle.  If possible, place them in the trunk or, at the very least, cover them.

The police also noted the need to ensure that Christmas decorations installed at home or at a business don’t obstruct security cameras and advised people placing gifts under a tree that this is not visible to passersby. 

Businesses are also encouraged to hire additional security, if possible, during the festive season and ensure that CCTV cameras are in good working order.

Road safety is a major part of the Holiday Safety Campaign, and the Traffic and Roads Policing Unit is deploying more speeding enforcement and traffic checkpoints at targeted locations, day and night. Speeding, driving under the influence and distracted driving continue to be the main causes behind collisions, even fatalities, of which we have already had nine this year, the RCIPS noted.

Andre Tahal, who heads the traffic unit, said that cracking down on poor driving behaviour is vital at this time of year to keep the community safe. Targeting drunk driving remains a focus for the RCIPS, particularly with the significant number of end-of-year parties and events over the coming weeks.

“We are reminding everyone to make plans for getting home before you head out,” Tahal said. “Getting behind the wheel when you have been drinking not only puts yourself at risk, but also your passengers and any other road users you encounter on your journey. Not only is this dangerous but also selfish driving behaviour. It is not worth the risk.”

As always, the RCIPS will support the National Drug Council in their annual Arrive Alive 345 Campaign. This includes the Designated Driver Programme, an initiative among local restaurants to offer complimentary soft drinks to designated drivers, and the Purple Ribbon Bus service, which provides a free bus service on New Year’s Eve from 9pm to 4am for all districts on Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac. The RCIPS encourages drivers to take the pledge not to drink and drive over the holiday season.

Safety while socialising is important over the festive season, and the police said individuals should always stay with a trusted group of friends when out socialising and remember to make a plan to get home before heading out.

Winter Guardian will run throughout the holiday season and into the New Year in an effort to ensure the safety of members of the public as they do their shopping, travel the roads and enjoy festivities.

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Category: Crime, Crime Prevention

Comments (9)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps they could let us know on a district by district basis which of the armed robbers, rapists, home invaders and other assorted criminals have been recently released on license or after serving their 3 day sentences for their 10th convictions? But probably won’t happen as that might be unfair to the criminals.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Every year, they blow the dust off this same losing script, the irony of which further erodes the public’s year-round confidence.

  3. Anonymous says:

    What do John John and Wayne think about this?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Gosh, I had figured on stepping up my vigilance 20%, but FULL vigilance? What is Cayman coming to?

    Can’t WAIT until April, when I can lapse back into zero viglilance….. well, until hurricane season.

    Thanks RCIPS for a timely reminder. I would have guessed that drunk driving occured the year round. Good to know.

  5. anonymous says:

    Dear police farce,
    We would like to be kept safe from crime and on our roads all of the time, not for one month at Christmas.
    All of Cayman

  6. Anonymous says:

    They’re urging us? We should be urging them seeing as they’re the POLICE. They’ve done a terrible job this year.

    • Anonymous says:

      My thoughts exactly!

      I think the headline should read:
      Public urges the police to remain vigilant over holidays.

      Or better yet:
      Public urges the police to remain vigilant 24×7, 365 days a year!


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