The negative impact of crime is not unique to the Bahamas, and
when one visits other countries you realize this very quickly. Crime is said to
be a phenomenon that transcends race, financial status, political alliance, and
religion. What is important is that the world is getting very much smaller and
crime events are now more than ever crossing borders. This wild card as I would
like to call it makes preparation and response to such events very complex.
This is because the perpetrators of theft and loss may not be living in the
Bahamas or can quickly escape to other jurisdictions, making the readiness and
response to local and international crime matters more multifaceted and costly.
If you think that international crime does not impact you, then you perhaps are
one of those persons who does not use the internet or own a credit card. The
simple act of logging in immediately makes your presence international and
subsequently exposes you to the numerous global threats that exist. Some
important questions need to be asked regarding what we are doing to battle
crime here in the Bahamas. In 2013, what were some of the strategies that the
police, you the business owner, and private citizen implemented to reduce your
exposure to loss events specifically crime? What worked and what did not?
Starting with you the citizen, what were some of the things you
did to make you and your environment a little safer? Perhaps this year you
invested in an alarm system, cameras, intrusion detection the whole gambit. How
much did it cost and do you feel safer? What is the response and reliability of
the service provider? These are some key questions to ask yourself, but in my opinion,
do you know who lives across the street from you? As a matter of fact, do you
know how they look or where they work? Can you call them if your alarm system
is triggered? What about the age old ‘Neighborhood Watch’?
The last few questions are very low investments and can go a long way in
ensuring your safety and survival. Remember the alarm system and the police
usually only show their worth during or after the intrusion. There are many
things that were done. Now is good time to check and revise your strategy to
reduce your exposure and increase your chances of survival.
What of the business owner? Certainly you have invested in
everything from point of sales systems to alarm, burglar bars, to security
guards, and the likes. But do you really know anything about the employee who
is working for you? Have proper and continued background checks been done? What
about forming your own local business watch or professional association and
sharing information on crime trends inclusive of solutions. The dynamics of
your business from cash operations to merchant services demand a more critical
and aggressive approach to loss prevention. These are the types of demands you
should be making of the police and your in house security representatives. They
should be more than just first responds to crime events, but should also
provide tips and initiatives to reduce loss.
What of the police? Yes the police, who are always asking the
public’s help in solving crime.
How have they performed admirably or is there lacking? How successful is
‘Community Policing’ or the ’12 Hour Shift’?
These questions should be asked and answered, as they impact our perception of
the quality of life we enjoy in the Bahamas. More cars and equipment again, but
how are they being used and managed? More officers are needed, but is there
proper management and deployment of the current manpower? More is good, but
what are you doing with what you have? According the crime stats released in
May 12 2013, why are incidents like causing harm and assault not being
reported? We eagerly look forward to the statistics for 2013 that should give
us a better understanding of the success and failure rates of the Police. This
year perhaps, these stats should also tell us what you did with the resources.
But with that said all groups have a lot of work to do in
decreasing crime and fear of crime level in the Bahamas. Times along with
values and culture have changed, thus strategy and tactics must do the same if
we are to better manage change. We note with concern that crime over the last
two decades have skyrocketed almost 100%, with only 54 recorded murders in 1994
to 102 at the time of this article in December 2013. What has happened? Have we
become more violent, aggressive, and intolerant? What is triggering this
behavior that is making it unsafe to work and live, for guests and Bahamians
alike? The ‘blame game’ gets us nowhere, especially
considering that we do not just work here, we live here too. Be it the courts,
the government, church or school, these are all made up of individuals, who
must take initiative in making the country safer. If this is to be done, then
as communicated at the start of this article from time to time we must assess
our efforts and adapt accordingly.
It was Albert Einstein who said, "To continue to do the same
thing the same way and expect a different result is insanity." We are
reminded that crime takes on a multitude of different faces, and attempts at
reducing or solving crime must take on just as much characteristics. The
question and more importantly, the answers about what we are doing individually
and collectively need to be searched out now. We cannot go into 2014 doing the
same thing that gave little success in 2013.
Gamal Newry is the president of Preventative Measures, loss
prevention and asset protection training and consulting company, specializing
in policy and procedure development, business security reviews and audits, and
emergency and crisis management. Comments can be sent to PO Box N-3154 Nassau,
Bahamas, or e-mail gnewry@preventativemeas
ures.org or visit us at