How Safe Are Gated Communities? Tactical PI’s Elston Bain Claims Eyes are Still Best Defense
Sixteen-year Royal Bahamas Police Force veteran, now CEO of a private security company, Elston Bain urged Nassau residents to step up personal vigilance, minimize risk and be aware of their surroundings.
Bain’s comments followed a rash of break-ins in gated communities throughout New Providence. Incidents have been reported in normally quiet and even exclusive neighbourhoods packed with amenities from east to west and as far south as Coral Harbour.
“Living in a gated community definitely adds a sense of security and comfort, particularly for families with young children who feel their young ones are safer playing outside, but those security gates are no guarantee against the criminal or criminals determined to do harm,” said Bain. “It is a sad state of affairs but when you combine certain factors including a breakdown in the social fabric and high youth unemployment, property crimes increase. As the fear of crime escalates, security gates at entry points of a community and security cameras that capture activity around a residence become less of a luxury and more of a standard expectation. They are all integral to a sense of security yet the single best weapon in anyone’s arsenal of personal protection is still utilization of your senses, including common sense. First, always be aware of your surroundings, almost as if you had to take notes on it. Be alert and watch activity around you. Heed the advice of law enforcement. It may sound boring and old, but no tool has ever compared to your own two eyes.”
Bain, who worked in cyber and white-collar crime for a large property after leaving the police force in 2012, said there are a number of practical tips not to be overlooked.
“Even entering your car, wait until you are nearly ready to hop into the driver’s seat before clicking the key to open the door. It only takes a second for someone with the wrong intention to hear the sound, see flash of headlight and slide into the back seat while you are still approaching the vehicle,” he said.
Another tip – when driving through an electronic gate, pull forward and watch the gate close before proceeding to your residence. It is easy for a second car to follow on the sensor footprint you created. Most gates close in 20 seconds.
Bain, who is trained in weapons, fraud investigations, covert surveillance and risk assessments opened Tactical Private Investigators to provide a range of services including personal security that he saw a growing need for with most security firms focusing on staffing guard stations or after-hours property protection.
“Nothing would give those of us in law enforcement, on the force (RBPF) or off, more pleasure than a world without criminal activity,” said Bain. “Unfortunately, that is not the case and everyone has a responsibility to observe, or to participate in a neighbourhood watch group even on whatsapp, and to call CrimeStoppers, 919 or your local police station when you see something suspicious. If everyone heeds the adage, ‘See something, say something’ we will all be part of the solution and reduce the fear of crime in The Bahamas.”