Burglaries Prolific In Barbados, But Homeowners Not Worried

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An average of 115 burglaries is recorded every month in Barbados, with the majority of the victims being female.

But, homeowners appear to be indifferent towards securing their homes, with few seeing the need for protection or cause for concern until they become victims of the crime.

These observations were part of a study entitled: Profiling Burglaries in Barbados, conducted by the National Task Force on Crime Prevention (NTFCP), and presented to stakeholders from the public and private sectors during a breakfast meeting at Courtyard by Marriott yesterday.

Senior Research Officer with the NTFCP, Kim Ramsay, told those present that burglary was one of the most prolific crimes committed in Barbados. ???It surpasses homicides by far, [and] any of the other types of crimes??? Everyday a burglary occurs in Barbados,??? she disclosed.

She further noted that in some cases, property owners were victimised more than once, with two per cent of people being targeted as many as five times, and seven per cent at least three times.

But, she pointed out, the study showed that the fear of burglary and the actual protection were not parallel. ???A lot of people do not worry about being burglarised. One in three [people surveyed] were not worried, yet when it does happen they become very concerned. We find that people have an indifference to securing their homes and are even unaware that they need to,??? she said.

Ms. Ramsay added that 53 per cent of burglarised properties were uninsured, while only 45 per cent were insured. ???A lot of people do not insure their properties and if they do, they only insure the house but they do not insure the content because they believe that the risk of something like that happening is very low,??? she explained.

Among the reasons given for people not securing their homes were: not believing they would be a victim; just not being concerned; not being able to afford it and believing that securing the home was unnecessary since someone would always be there.

In addition, the study revealed that 29 per cent of victims thought that installing a burglar alarm could assist in reducing burglaries, 11 per cent believed that a guard dog would be helpful, and less than two per cent believed that keeping trees trimmed and de-bushing the area around their homes could reduce the committal of the offence.

???Yet they do not see these things as priorities. There are many homes in Barbados where you cannot even see the house because of the bush. People want their privacy, but the burglars like it too,??? Ms. Ramsay opined.

She lamented that less than eight per cent of those surveyed believed that installing a video surveillance system and having their homes monitored by a security company could be worth the expense, while less than 10 per cent of victims believed that a neighbourhood watch programme would assist in reducing burglaries.

The Senior Research Officer also questioned the effectiveness of neighbourhood watches, noting that people joined them initially, but lost interest, had disagreements or became too busy to keep up with the cause, resulting in the efforts falling by the wayside.

julia.rawlins-bentham@barbados.gov.bb

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