BIS Photo by Vandyke Hepburn
By GENEA NOEL
Freeport News Reporter
Freeport, Grand Bahama- The Grand Bahama District of the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) is working on several initiatives to help in the fight against crime on the island.
Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police Quinn McCartney, while addressing members of the Freeport LIONS Club on Tuesday evening, told attendees that the district has been relatively successful in living up to its mandate in making The Bahamas a safer place to live.
While he acknowledged challenges within the district, including a one-officer-to-100-residents ratio, McCar-tney said that with the committed and dedicated officers they will continue to make a difference in our community.
McCartney revealed that plans are presently underway to establish a "Tex-A-Cop" program that will allow residents to submit information to police via a cellphone text message.
"This is the technology that young people are using today and we would then be able to respond to what is being sent to us so we need to use methods that the young people use.
"They may not have the courage to call but they can send us a text message and this would be much more effective," he explained.
Additionally, McCartney said that the Police Department has recently established a victim support unit as a part of the outreach in the community.
"Victims and survivors of crime are counselled and supported by officers attached to that section," he said.
"Oftentimes when a loved one is killed, officers now go and sit down and talk with the family during this time. The victim might have even been a criminal but we still go and offer that support.
"This would hopefully lessen their pain and strengthen them. We are able to get valuable information in addition to providing support. We are finding that to be a very effective tool."
He informed that this support service has garnered positive feedback and helped to strengthen the police presence in the various communities.
McCartney also disclosed that there is an effort to increase the number of foot and mobile patrol on the island as this serves as a preventative mechanism to crime.
"Studies have shown that persons are less inclined to commit a crime if they know the police is nearby.
"While we cannot be everywhere on this large island, we believe that if we can make our presence felt on a consistent basis and if persons can estimate the time when police will be in their area, hopefully the criminals will not be as brave, daring or bold to try and enter your homes or commit crimes."
He noted that the addition of the new and improved vehicles will enable officers to better serve residents and allow the police to be more visible.
"We will also be able to respond more quickly to the calls. This is a constant complaint that we get and we are hoping to be able to respond quickly and increase patrol in those hot spot areas to minimize and reduce the fear of crime."
The force he said is taking nothing for granted especially during these times and a proactive approach is being taken on "intelligence-led policing' with greater emphasis being placed on information gathering through the use of informants, crime analysis, suspect surveillance and community partnership.
"The information you provide is analyzed and categorized. We hope that as a result of this we can turn that information into intelligence which can help to guide our investigation and devise our strategies.
"This has been a critical pillar of our organization and we have seen marked increases in our success in better crime protection, also crime prevention," he said.
McCartney told LIONS' club members that everyone is responsible for policing the communities that they live in and all must do a part to keep this island safe.