In response to the concerns that boat owners and residents expressed about the noticeable rise in boat thefts occurring this year in the area of Abaco and the Northern Bahamas in general, Kevin Mortimer, Officer in Charge of the Abaco District, noted some increased measures to track down and reduce the number of thefts taking place.
Mr. Mortimer noted that boat theft has been an Achilles heel for the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) in the Abaco’s “from time in memorial.” However, he said that there has been a “considerable effort from different agencies; the Royal Bahamas Defense Force (RBDF) and the Department of Immigration to assist and presently the RBDF now has a craft assigned to this area which has been patrolling the area for the last month and a half.
He added that in a few weeks he expects to have the Police boat sea ready and “hopefully that will help to deter these wannabe criminals and help boat thefts to diminish.”
Mr. Mortimer said that boat thieves appear to have a “mindset to use these boats for illicit activities” despite the increased patrols.
However, he added that “We believe that in most instances, as far as I can recall, we have recovered at least half of the boats that have been stolen. That is due in part to the owners taking responsibility in terms of having tracking devices on their vessels which has been a tremendous help to the police department in terms of the recovery effort.”
The thefts have not been limited to whole boats, but people have found equipment, engines and lower units stolen as well.
“Just this weekend we questioned three persons with respect to a couple of boats that have been stolen. We are still inquiring into that and hopefully we will soon have some results,” he said.
“However, we continue to ask the public if they know of persons who come wanting to sell any particular boat parts and you know these persons are not in any way able to afford these parts, engines or the boat itself, please call us.”
Mr. Mortimer wants to encourage people that when they hear, or suspect something is about to happen or is happening, to call the RBPF.
He said boat owners can help prevent thefts by putting tracking devices on the boats, using chains and padlocks, by putting the boat on a lift or installing kill switches on the engines.
He also encouraged boat owners not to leave their boat full of fuel when the boat is not in use.
“We suspect that there is an organized effort as persons are watching when boats are filled up with fuel,” he said.
He asks that the community continue to be the eyes and ears for the police department and report any information, no detail is too small, to 911 or 367-2560.