(CMR) The RCIPS’ annual holiday safety operation, Winter Guardian, commenced Friday night, 8 December, and will see intensified road enforcement operations, increased community foot patrols and high visibility mobile patrols across the Islands.
The operation is supported by 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 socialize, and so our holiday safety campaign is about providing reassurance and deterring crime,” said Chief Superintendent Brad Ebanks.
“We conduct these activities throughout the year, but during this time period, a more strategic approach is required,” he said.
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. It is important we maintain these activities to keep the pressure on offenders with a view to stifle criminal activity. I am encouraging the public to work with us again this season, adhering to our advice and warnings,” said Chief Superintendent Ebanks.
Precautions to take this holiday season
The RCIPS is reminding the public to be especially cautious of financial crime, which tends to increase over the holiday season – particularly the threats of 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.
Individuals should also be alert to any emails or messages received from businesses asking for their password or bank account details. Never provide these details, and if you are unsure of the legitimacy of any communications received, check directly with the business concerned. Finally, social media scams are becoming more common, and the holiday season brings an increase in this type of activity. Individuals may be approached via platforms such as Facebook, where an ‘investment opportunity’ is offered, under the guise of building a trusted friendship with the victim.
While officers will increase their presence in both residential and commercial areas of the community, the police also encourage the public to be cautious and vigilant when partaking in festive activities.
Ensure that when out shopping, you 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. Ensure that any decorations installed at home or at a business place do not obstruct security cameras, and be conscious of placing gifts under a tree that is visible to passersby.
Businesses are also encouraged to hire additional security during the festive season if possible, and ensure that CCTV cameras are in good working order.
Road safety is a major part of the Holiday Safety Campaign, with the Traffic & Roads Policing Unit deploying increased speeding enforcement and traffic checkpoints at targeted locations, day and night.
The police said speeding, driving under the influence, and distracted driving continue to be the main causes behind collisions, and in the worst scenario, fatalities, with Cayman recording nine road falalitiesso far this year.
The RCIPS said cracking down on these poor driving behaviors is vital at this time of year if we want to be our most effective at keeping the community safe. Targeting drunk driving remains a focus, 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,” said Head of Traffic and Roads Policing Unit, Andre Tahal.
“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 behavior. It is not worth the risk,” Tahal added.
As always, the RCIPS continues to support the National Drug Council in its annual Arrive Alive 345 Campaign. This includes the Designated Driver Program, an initiative among local restaurants to offer complimentary soft drinks to designated drivers. The Purple Ribbon Bus service provides a free bus service on New Year’s Eve from 9:00 PM to 4:00 AM for all districts on Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac. Additionally, the RCIPS encourages drivers to take the Purple Ribbon Pledge to not drink and drive over the holiday season. Visit the National Drug Council for more information.
Safety while socializing is important over the festive season. The RCIPS encourages individuals to always stay with a trusted group of friends when out socializing and remember to make a plan to get home before you head 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.