Former Top Cop, Now Security Boss Urges Caution, Warns Unemployment will Drive Jump in Crime
The founder of a private security firm that provides protection for leading individuals and select businesses today urged Bahamians to exercise extreme caution in the coming weeks, projecting a spike in crime as a result of unemployment due to COVID-19.
Elston Bain, a 16-year veteran of the Royal Bahamas Police Force and now CEO of Tactical Private Investigators, sounded the alarm following news of massive staff reductions, closures of shops and attractions, cancellations of events and even a temporary halt to outdoor seating dining spots in popular venues, including Fish Fry at Arawak Cay.
“We have all been dwelling on messages of caution relative to staying healthy,” said Bain, who founded the security company. “While we are focusing on avoiding becoming infected by the fast-spreading corona virus, we need to spread the message to exercise caution against what will inevitably be an increase in personal and property crime as a result of a sudden spike in unemployment.”
With governments across the globe warning against non-essential travel, cruise ships that normally deliver five million passengers a year to the port of Nassau now parked. and hotel cancellations ballooning, local businesses of all sizes are laying off staff, reducing work hours or requesting those with accrued vacation time to take it during this period.
The sudden impact on economic activity was evident throughout Nassau on Tuesday. During bright daylight hours, a normally bustling Bay Street was empty. Roll down shutters signified closed for business. Parking lots that usually swell with vehicles and sidewalks with crowds were bare.
“Many who will feel the impact first already struggle to make ends meet,” said Bain. “They live paycheck to paycheck and in hard times like these – which hit especially hard because there was no warning – and they still have families to feed, they may act in desperation. That can lead to a wide range of criminal activity.”
Bain urges extra vigilance and offers these tips.
“Even if you own expensive jewelry, do not wear it at this time, store it safely away. Do not wear anything flashy. If you have a safe at home, make sure it is well concealed and bolted to a wall or floor,” said Bain, former detective corporal with the Royal Bahamas Police Force. Most security stores sell small home safes, he noted. “If you arrive home and anything feels out of place, trust your instinct, absolutely do not proceed inside and risk confronting someone. Go to the nearest police station and ask an officer to escort you home, same thing if you think you are being followed. “
The one advantage, says Bain, about this time of year – daylight savings time.
“If you walk or jog for exercise, you have more hours of daylight in the early evening to do so. Please do not jog in the dark, you are only making yourself more of a target,” he said. “And whenever possible, run or jog or cycle in a group. Be as vigilant and careful with your attention to your surroundings as you now are with washing your hands. This, too, shall pass and we just want to get you through it as safely as possible.”