The National Security Council (NSC) today (Wednesday, 22 June) presented to the public its Crime Reduction Strategy, a long-term strategy to address crime in the Islands. The strategy was approved by Cabinet in May.
His Excellency the Governor Duncan Taylor, who chairs the NSC, called the document a "frank" report that calls for greater coordination and collaboration among ministries and departments as well as the private sector in delivering early intervention, prevention and rehabilitation programmes.
"This strategy addresses the causes of crime and not just crime. It is about reducing the risk of young people turning to a life of crime. It also aims to reduce the high rates of re-offending."
The Hon. Premier McKeeva Bush confirmed Cabinet's support for the strategy, calling it a good effort.
He further urged the community to join the endeavour: "We can't have police on every corner and at every bank's door. Yes, they can patrol the hot spots, but people have to let police know what they know."
The Premier also pointed out that the Crime Reduction Strategy is not a "quick fix and entails far more than just operational solutions."
The strategy document was compiled by the NSC's Crime Prevention Working Group with input from the civil service, public and the private sector. It also drew on previous reports including the 2006 Forde report on Pre-Disposing Factors to Criminality in the Cayman Island and reports by the private sector Prevention of Crime Group.
The Crime Reduction Strategy is available on www.gis.ky or www.gov.ky under Features.
What is the Crime Reduction Strategy?
- It is a long-term, preventative strategy that deals with the causes of crime.
- It aims to coordinate and streamline social programmes with the ultimate goal of reducing crime.
- The primary focus of the strategy is on early intervention of children at risk; and on reducing re-offending (e.g. through prisoner rehabilitation).
- It is not a quick fix and entails far more than just operational solutions.
- It takes a hard look at what is currently on the table and how to make it work better.
- It calls for community involvement, partnerships and coordination for more effective early intervention, prevention, enforcement, and a reduced recidivism rate.
- It also lists practical interventions to help reduce crime, e.g., duty concessions on security equipment.
Why do we need this strategy?
- A long-term solution has the potential to tackle the causes of crime as opposed to just the effects. Simply employing more police officers will not solve the Islands' crime problems.
- This strategy is an investment in the future. We owe it to today's children to address current social problems for a better tomorrow.
- In recent years, several reports have pointed to the fact that criminal behaviour is usually rooted in social and developmental problems. And at more than $56,000 per inmate per year, it makes economic sense to invest in a long-term solution.
- Over the years there have been many reports & strategies. Why is this one different?
- The Crime Reduction Strategy tells it like it is: There is little coordination between agencies and a severe lack of performance measures. But this strategy will force departments and agencies to be accountable. In other words, people will have to show that their programmes work, i.e. have the desired impact, else funding will be redirected to those with proven success records.
- There will be a single person tracking performance. The new Director of Policy Coordination will monitor programme success and prevent duplication.
- A critically important strategy feature is involving the public in its success. One of the Director of Policy Coordination's main functions will therefore be to inform people on the strategy's progress.
When will we see the strategy in action?
The strategy was researched and drafted last year and was launched in June 2011. Many recommendations have already been implemented, such as:
- Installing the CCTV system.
Providing support and funding for the multi-agency BEST programme.
Introducing the new legislation, including the new Police Law, and amendments to the Evidence Law and a Criminal Procedure Law to strengthen law enforcement officers' and the courts' ability to deal with offenders.
Establishing the post of Director of Public Prosecutions.
For further information contact: Cornelia Oliver