NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The communities of Yellow Elder, Millennium Gardens and Stapledon will get a surveillance drone and command center as part of a phased pilot program “in less than a month”, according to Minister of National Security and Mount Moriah MP Marvin Dames.
Dames made the announcement at the Grove Police Station on Blue Hill Road following a briefing with community leaders from the National Neighborhood Watch Council.
“That will be the first of a number of drones because we are running a pilot,” the minister said.
“In less than a month we will be opening up a command center for the area where they will be able to monitor, be able to communicate and regulate patrols in concert with the police within this constituency.
“This kind of stuff is not taking place anywhere in the world over.
“And so, what we are doing in The Bahamas it’s very unique.
“It’s very groundbreaking. We are very confident based on what we know, and what we have been doing that this will pay very positive dividends in the long run.
“In the short run you can see the short-term gains that are being made throughout this country in respect to communities.”
The government signed a $17 million contract with Swift Engineering Inc. in December 2019 for 55 unmanned aerial drones.
The drone program is expected to include real time surveillance capabilities, the development of a drone academy and workshop, as well as training in drones.
According to the Yellow Elder Gardens resident Carlos Carey, the neighborhood watch association has rolled out a number of programs.
These include improving lighting in the community, going to door to door to solicit membership, and sourcing motion sensor solar lights for homes — all in an effort to reduce crime.
“We are trying to bring the community together,” Munnings said.
“If you are my neighbor and you know me, more likely you will not steal from me.
“In Yellow Elder, along with the South-Central Division, Inspector and ASP Campbell, and Chief Superintendent Barrett we are working together, and things happen in an instant.”
Montell Heights President Chris Munnings said while the area has had its share of challenges, there has been a noticeable reduction in crime the past several years.
Meanwhile, Dames said property crime continues to trend downward, particularly in the respective watch associations.
Notwithstanding an absence of empirical data, the minister said the strategic work of watch groups in communities has contributed to the reduction.
He called the community leaders “unsung heroes”.