An already weary community finds themselves seeking answers after five boats were stolen in the space of a week from several locations across the island of Abaco.
The recent boat theft activity brings the unofficial estimate to about twenty or more for the year with residents and visitors expressing frustration at the situation and the lack of capture and prosecution of boat thieves.
The situation is not new as last year the North Abaco Minister of Parliament, Renardo Curry had a meeting with various government agencies and stakeholders to seek answers and address the crime that threatens to dampen and already fragile economy based on tourism.
Most of the boats stolen last week have shown up days later without engines; two in fact were found on a beach at Casuarina missing their engines, however, there have been no arrests announced.
Newly arrived Superintendent of Police, Hilton Cash, noted that his first day in office was marked with three reports of stolen boats. “We will address whatever issues as it relates to crime. Boat thefts top the priority in crime.”
Mr. Cash said he has reviewed statistics and is looking at the places where the thefts are occurring first hand with a view to formulating a strategy to bring the thefts under control.
The Royal Bahamas Police Force recommendations to all boaters is to make every effort to secure your property with appropriate locks and chains, lighting and other security measures such as CCTV. The first line of defense in the protection of personal property is the owner’s responsibility.
Residents, however, continue to vent their frustrations and are concerned that information provided by the communities being hit by these crimes are not being taken seriously or followed up by the relevant authorities.
One resident said that visitors and investors are turning away as they see no progress being made in curbing the thefts. Another shop owner lamented in a daily newspaper the loss of their idyllic island life as the threat of crime has increased and suggested “Given an opportunity to partner with competent law enforcement, and moving toward classic community policing, this community can hopefully move forward free of the concern of it becoming more of a lawless place.”