Be on your guard, Bajans told
The Royal Barbados Police Force yesterday appealed to Barbadians to be alert and not to let down their guard when it comes to their personal safety.
Station Sargeant Stephen Griffith issued the caution as he confirmed that police had been receiving reports from motorists that culprits have been stealing articles from their vehicles in slow-moving traffic, especially in the Fordes Road/Clapham, St Michael areas.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY, Griffith was quick to point out that the problem was not limited to these communities as he expressed concern that in some cases members of the public were not adhering to best anti-crime practices.
“Drivers should not leave items in plain sight inside a vehicle, whether it is in the front seat or the back seat. Put away all items that mean something to you inside a covered area or don’t travel with it.
“We are finding that persons are leaving items in the back seat of the vehicle and people can open the car door take it out and run away from them and this is creating another challenge and we want people to be very aware that there are some persons out there who would like to take your property. We want that when you enter your vehicle, you lock the car door.”
He also advised Barbadians to keep a close eye on anyone who appeared to be loitering along the sidewalk close to vehicles aimlessly.
“Take note of these persons and if necessary please call us at 211 or call the Police Hotline.”
The lawman admitted that burglary was still a major headache and he lamented that Barbadians were too often reckless, making it easier for criminals to pounce.
“We find that a lapse in security is playing a major part in many of the burglaries. That is to say that some people are leaving home with their windows open. We have a practice where we open the house early to catch air, but when time begins to get ahead you begin to hurry and in that process you begin to leave your windows open, your doors unlocked, keys in the door and this is a recipe for disaster. So spend another minute or two checking your home before heading off.”
Griffith also urged Barbadians to be more careful handling cash at Automated Teller Machines (ATM).
“Some people are very predictable in their cash-handling practices and we want people not to follow this particular way of doing things. You must be purposeful when dealing with cash.
“There are persons who go to the ATM to get money but then you see those persons come on the outside to count their money. Come on, if the money is wrong, who are you going to ask? You take your money, you go away to a safe place, check it and if there is a problem you contact your financial institution,” he advised.
The senior lawman said police had already stepped up their presence on the highways and in a number of areas he did not disclose.
Griffith stressed it was also important for Barbadians to take special precautions during the Crop Over season even as he assured that police would be on the beat.
“Do not travel with anything you are not prepared to lose. So you won’t want to be at Kadooment jumping in a band with a lot of jewellery and these other expensive items.
“We see a practice where young women [are] walking with their cellphones pushed in their back pockets and with a bump, a touch, the phone is gone. We ask people not to travel with more cash that you think you need, use other means of paying for your goods where practical.
“Shortly I’ll be speaking to vendors in terms of how they deal with their cash and other crime prevention techniques. I’ve recently spoken to [court] marshals about how they are going to be performing their duties. So we are making sure that those people who have to participate as patrons have a virtually safe environment from which they can operate. Do not leave children at home alone and only park in well-lit designated areas,” he said.