On the heels of a 26 per cent drop in serious crime for 2006, the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service has reported a further 14 per cent drop in those crimes for the first three months of this year.
Despite the substantial improvement for RCIPS over the past 15 months, Police Commissioner Stuart Kernohan said last week that he is only ‘cautiously pleased’ by the results.
In the world of policing, what goes down can often come back up.
‘If you look at the reduction in crime for 2006, it was quite impressive if I do say so myself,’ Commissioner Kernohan said. ‘Trying to replicate similar drops in 2007 always was going to be problematic for us.
‘The logic and statistics of it tells us that, at some point, we will (bottom out). I would not be flabbergasted if we see that flat-lining at some point, or even at some point throughout the year coming back up again.’
The most common serious crime in Cayman, burglary, dropped 24 per cent in the first quarter of this year. Attempted burglaries, serious assaults, robberies, attempted murders and attempted rapes all dropped as well.
Some slight increases were seen in possession of unlicensed firearms and in aggravated burglaries.
The news was generally not good in the types of crime the police department considers less serious, often called volume crime.
Thefts saw a 26 per cent drop in the first three months of 2007. However, reports of property damage went up by some 15 per cent.
Of more concern to police was the fact that both threats of violence and minor assaults went up by more than 70 per cent in the first part of this year.
Mr. Kernohan couldn’t immediately state whether that increase was due to a rise in actual crimes occurring, or if it was simply a result of people reporting those crimes more frequently.
‘I can tell you that some of these crimes involve kids, teenagers…who could be threatening somebody by a text on a phone,’ he said. ‘It’s a form of bullying really, that’s been seen throughout the world.’
The Commissioner also noted in some cases it’s difficult for police to have an affect on minor assaults or crimes.
‘A drunken fall-out between friends on the way home on a Friday night; how do we impact on that sort of thing? I’m not quite sure.’
The RCIPS quarterly crime report also noted that there had been no reports of assaults involving domestic violence in the first three months of this year.
Chief Superintendent John Jones said that was due to a ‘quirk’ in the reporting system, and was simply not true.
In fact, reports of crimes related to domestic disturbances and violence rose by more than 66 per cent last year in the Cayman Islands when compared to 2005.
Reports of defilement, or consensual sex involving underage girls, also went up by 32 per cent in the past year, according to RCIPS statistics.
‘It is a significant problem for us,’ Mr. Jones said.