The Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) is concerned that its warnings and crime prevention tips, particularly during the busy Christmas season, seem to fall on deaf ears.
Crime Prevention Officer Station Sergeant Stephen Griffith told Barbados TODAY this afternoon that due to a high level of carelessness a number of Barbadians were becoming victims of thieves and petty criminals.
He said burglaries were high on the list of crimes during the Yuletide season, facilitated by homeowners who are lax with security.
“If you look at the burglaries, you would find that the investigators are saying there was no forced entry . . . and if there was no forced entry, it means that there is a challenge,” the law enforcement officer said.
He explained that often people misplace their house keys and they “activate a spare key” while still unaware if the original keys were in the hands of potential thieves.
Griffith also made reference to those who close their houses but fail to secure their windows or doors, those who leave bathroom windows open, drive away leaving their keys at the doors, or provide easy access to their homes.
“One of the other areas that we have challenges with is people leaving facilitators on the outside of their homes in terms of barrels, ladders. In many garages in Barbados that are not secured, there is open view from the roadway and people . . . everything they don’t want in their homes, they gravitate to the garage; and this includes tools that can be used to break in to their homes,” the police officer noted.
Griffith cautioned Barbadians to be aware of what is happening around them and not to walk in isolated areas alone, while compounding the possible dangers by wearing headphones.
He lamented that people still drive in slow moving traffic with their windows down, yet keep their bags or other valuable possessions exposed on the seats beside them, or that people stop in car parks with their valuable exposed and easily accessible. Then there are those who go shopping in Bridgetown, place items on the back seat of their cars, leave to continue shopping, and repeat the exercise.
“Once you put these items in the back of the vehicle, they can be easily seen from the outside and the possibility of your car being targeted, is that much more increased. If you have to do this, there should be short trips. You should not stay away from your vehicle for long periods. The criminal doesn’t need a lot of time to break into your vehicle,” warned the station sergeant.
Griffith again appealed to Barbadians not to withdraw cash from automated banking machines in dark or isolated places, and to desist from counting cash in the open.
“Just go away to a safe area, have your cash checked and if it is not right, then you can always go to your financial institution to deal with that.”
The crime prevention officer urged those who live with elderly folk to accompany their charges whenever they go to The City to do business, especially if they have to do financial transactions. And he cautioned against exposing money in the presence of people begging for help.