Why are name and address details of crimes not published?

| 14/06/2019

Can you explain why the local media (CNS included) does not publish the exact name and location of accidents, robberies, police arrests etc.? Media seems to have no problem identifying people who are involved in water sports incidents. It would be helpful to know that individuals living near XYZ condos should be on the lookout for break-ins or that accidents occurred at a specific location, not just Esterley Tibbetts Highway.

Ask Auntie, CNS Local Life, Caymanian status

Auntie’s answer: The release of identifying details such as names and addresses in reports of traffic accidents and crimes is determined by the RCIPS, which issues that information. The police weigh several factors before deciding whether to go public with any specifics.

An RCIPS spokesperson explained the interests of an affected business or a victim have to be balanced against disclosing their details. “We do not ever, under any circumstances, disclose the exact location of crimes that occur if that would be a victim’s residence. This includes burglary victims, and therefore our descriptions will state an area or neighbourhood or street, if the street is not a very small one,” the spokesperson said.

Worth noting is that depending on the scale of the incident in question, the address may wind up being disclosed through social media or news outlets, “but it will not come from police”.

The RCIPS also considers the issue of public safety when putting out police reports, the spokesperson said, explaining that is “why we notify the media of crimes and arrests of significance and public interest, and provide a fairly clear description of where crimes occur”, which can include the street or road junction and neighbourhood, for example.

In addition, “If a major incident occurs inside a business, we will name it or confirm the name of it when contacted by media; however, we will not name a business purely as a landmark to describe where a crime occurred”, such as someone was robbed near ABC Company.

In the case of water-related deaths or vehicle accidents, however, the police will release more specific details, the spokesperson explained, since these “do not present the same sensitivities as those incidents involving victims of crimes. We are a victim-centred service and this ethic is carried through in our approach to our public releases”.

By the way, when it comes to the media releasing names when crimes are committed, in general certain rules are followed. The identity of someone who has been arrested for whatever crime is not published, but that person can be named if he or she is charged, and the victims’ names may also be released.

But in cases such as sexual assault or child abuse, names will be withheld to prevent identifying the victims. And, especially in cases of child sexual abuse, during the trial the judge will order that the press withhold the name of the victim, along with anything that might lead to their identification such as a family member’s identity or school name, though members of the press are already “self-policing” in this regard.

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Comments (3)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Once a person has been convicted of a crime then their name should be included in the report on the crime. Any crime.

    • Anonymous says:

      And even before they are convicted, the fact of their charge should be reported to immigration.

      • Anonymous says:

        Mmm innocent until proven guilty?? Why would you alert immigration when most of the crimes are by Caymanians. Don’t believe me? Ask the prison for statistics on its residents.