Crime, accidents level off

Sharp drops in Cayman Islands crime and a big rise in the number of motor vehicle accidents have both appeared to level off in the first half of this year.

Police Commissioner Stuart Kernohan

Police Commissioner Stuart Kernohan

According to police statistics through the first six months of 2007, serious crimes in Cayman have dropped by eight per cent when compared to the first six months of last year. But overall crime, when factoring in reports of domestic violence, threats of violence and minor assaults, actually increased by nine per cent.

Fatal car accidents were down from 2006, though there have been seven deaths so far this year on Cayman Islands roads. The number of total traffic accidents stayed almost the same when compared to the first six months of last year.

Police Commissioner Stuart Kernohan warned earlier this year that steady reductions in crime over the past 18 months may be difficult to replicate. Serious crime dropped 26 per cent last year in Cayman.

‘We can’t become complacent and we’ll continue to focus every effort in keeping the numbers going down,’ Deputy Police Commissioner Anthony Ennis said. ‘It’s going to have to bottom out at some point, because just how low you can go is another question.’

Burglaries continued to drop over the first six months of 2007 along with assaults, attempted rapes, and discharge of firearms. Thefts also dropped slightly in the first part of this year.

The most startling increase in serious crime was in aggravated burglary. Sixteen such cases were reported so far this year, compared to just three last year. No other category of serious crime increased significantly in the first six months of 2007.

Police were more concerned with three categories of volume crimes which are seeing sharp increases.

Reported threats of violence doubled in the first six months of this year, when compared to 2006. Sixty threats were reported last year; 120 were reported as of 30 June, 2007.

Assaults involving domestic violence went up by 54 per cent this year. Domestic violence was one of the few areas of crime in which RCIPS saw large increases last year as well.

Mr. Kernohan said part of that was likely due to the public’s increased reporting of such cases.

‘We expect some of that increase to be accounted for by the confidence in the victims that something’s actually going to get done about their assault,’ he said. ‘We are sorry to see a rise (in crime), but in other ways we are pleased that these crimes are…being reported to the police.’

RCIPS was also writing far more traffic tickets than it did in 2006.

The number of speeding tickets issued by the department went up nearly 85 per cent. More than 2,700 speeders were cited through 30 June.

Citations for failing to wear a seatbelt also jumped by 57 per cent for the first half of this year. The number of DUI offences stayed about the same.

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