Cayman Crime Stoppers is back in business in a big way.
‘We’ve gotten more calls in the last eight weeks than in all of 2006 and 2007 put together,’ said Crime Stoppers Chairman Stuart Bostock.
Mr. Bostock said the service, which can be reached at 800-8477 (TIPS) and is operated at a location in Florida, is accustomed to receiving only a few calls a month with information about crimes that have occurred in Cayman. In the last two months, they’ve received dozens of phone calls a week.
‘It’s quite a good feeling,’ he said.
The Crime Stoppers organisation said it has received calls on many different cases including drugs reports, firearms possession cases, domestic abuse, rape and even some information on the recent killings which have troubled Grand Cayman.
Mr. Bostock attributed the huge increase in tip calls partly to a recent marketing effort and a lot of press coverage about Crime Stoppers.
In particular, he said the recent killing of several Blue Iguanas at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park has sparked renewed interest in the Crime Stoppers programme.
An $11,000 reward is still on offer in relation to the iguana case, $10,000 of which comes from the National Trust and $1,000 from Crime Stoppers.
‘We have had some information on the (recent) murders, but we’re receiving other information on crimes that are not necessarily public knowledge crimes,’ Mr. Bostock said. ‘I wouldn’t put (the increase in Crime Stoppers calls) down to serious crimes on the rise.’
Members of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service noted the increase in Crime Stoppers calls last week, and agreed Caymanian residents have been a bit more open than normal about talking to the police.
‘I think I’ve seen some improvement but it’s not at the level where we would want to see it,’ Deputy Police Commissioner Anthony Ennis said.
‘I do believe that family members are aware of some members who might be involved in crime. I’m sure no one would want their child in prison, but it’s probably better than to have them dead.’
Mr. Bostock said Crime Stoppers plans to announce more changes to its programme toward the end of this year which would include an anonymous internet crime reporting scheme.
‘They’re formalising how to keep confidential where the information has come from,’ he said.
Crime Stoppers was first formed in the Cayman Islands in 1993 as a non-profit, volunteer organisation. It generally offers up to $1,000 rewards in criminal cases for information that leads to arrest, charges, and conviction for an offence.
Callers to the programme are assigned a number and are not asked to give any personal details.