Serious crime dropping

There was nearly a 16 per cent reduction in serious crimes the first six months of this year when compared the same period in 2005, Commissioner of Police Stuart Kernohan announced at the quarterly police press briefing Wednesday.

‘The bottom line is that this is some very good results for the Cayman Islands,’ he said, noting that the drop was not just a short trend.

In terms of numbers, there were 94 less serious crimes from the 598 in the first six months of last year. Burglary and robbery combined dropped by 100 crimes, more than 20 per cent.

However, while serious crimes – which included burglary, rape, murder and firearms offences – went down in the comparative period, the total overall crimes went up by almost the same 16 per cent.

Theft was up almost 22 per cent and damage to property was up a whopping 124 per cent.

‘There is still a concern we have to drive down crime even further, particularly damage to property,’ Mr. Kernohan said.

There were 82 more damage to property crimes this year than the 66 in the first six months of last year. Mr. Kernohan said a great deal of them related to domestic disputes.

‘I appeal to the public, that if you have a domestic dispute with someone, please try to resolve it amicably rather than smashing up their positions,’ he said.

Traffic offences also went up almost 15 per cent, from 2,835 the first half of 2005 to 3,253 this year. Mr. Kernohan said the increase was attributable to an increase of enforcement.

Mr. Kernohan said the Steetskill campaign, which the multi-organisation educational road safety effort combined with increased RCIPS enforcement, seemed to be working.

‘The message is getting through,’ he said.

Mr. Kernohan said that there had been no fatal traffic accidents since April, but noted that speeding was still the prevalent traffic offence.

Increased enforcement of Driving Under the Influence, which started last December, seems to have lowered the number of those traffic offences.

After ‘quite a number of individuals’ were arrested for DUI in January and February of this year, the number dropped to five, nine and six for March, April and May respectively. However, the number jumped to 11 in June, Mr. Kernohan.

Still, there seems to be fewer drunk drivers on the roads.

‘There still is a problem with drink driving in the Cayman Islands,’ Mr. Kernohan said. ‘But the reports I have heard are that they’re harder to find than before.’

Another traffic offence Mr. Kernohan said is being enforced is dangerous driving because of driving with things that distract motorists like mobile telephones

Although there is no Cayman Islands law forbidding the use of a mobile telephone, if its use causes a motorist to weave or drive dangerously in any way, the RCIPS will charge that driver with an offence, Mr. Kernohan said, adding that people really should not drive while on the telephone.

‘Many academic reports have proven that if you’re concentrating on talking on the phone, your reaction time goes down and your attention goes down,’ he said.