Public urged to exercise vigilance due to increased break-ins and other crimes

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By Carlena Knight

The Acting Commissioner of Police has put out an appeal to members of the public to be more vigilant in the face of a drastic increase in reports of malicious damage, break-ins and larceny.

 “We have also produced public service announcements and we continue to appeal to the general public because we strongly believe that most of those things can be prevented if we just take some precaution,” Atlee Rodney said during a recent OBSERVER media interview.

“A lot of the reports we get, persons are just being careless and we are asking persons to just be a little bit more careful moving around with items when they are leaving their homes and so forth … pay attention to some of those things because most of those crimes, especially, are crimes of opportunity. Persons just see the opportunity and take advantage. That is what is affecting our numbers, I have to say, because our numbers are climbing.”

He added that while there has been a reduction in more serious crimes for the first six months of the year, the increase in reports of malicious damage from last year to now is worrisome. Malicious damage is any damage that is the result of a willful act for the purpose of causing harm or damage.

“Last year, in the first six months, we only had 112 malicious damage [reports] . . . a number of the malicious [damages] were persons breaking into people’s vehicles. And then, for this period in 2019, we have 185. You can see there is an increase in malicious damage and most of them are motor vehicles in which people are trying to steal,” the Acting Police Commissioner said.

He went on to share the rise in reported cases of larceny and break-ins and further noted that much more education needs to be done on how to prevent these from occurring.

“Break-ins; around this time we had 424; this year we have 476. With larceny, we had 210 larceny [reports] around this time, and now we have 251. So that is the area of concern we have in Antigua where a number of houses have been broken into and sometimes insignificant things like cellphones, somebody just left some item unattended, and so on; not major things, but the numbers are regular.

“Every day there is a report of a larceny and that is our concern. We have to continue to stress the importance of safety of your property, securing of your homes, being more careful as to where you park your vehicles when you are in the city, and so forth,” Rodney said.

During a 48-hour period earlier this week, two cases of larceny were reported to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), two reports of breaking and larceny, and one matter relating to a Samsung J7 cellphone which was reportedly damaged on Tuesday morning.

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