Last month a caycompass.com online poll asked readers what aspect of modern Cayman they disliked most. By far, the largest segment of respondents said they disliked crime the most.
Although violent crimes are the ones that make the headlines, thefts and burglaries have increased much more in recent years.
Statistics released by the Royal Cayman Islands Police Services last month revealed a 61 per cent increase in reported burglaries in the first three months of 2009 compared to the same time period in 2008.
Everything is relative, and Cayman’s crime figures pale in comparison to many other Caribbean countries and US cities. However, compared to the Cayman Islands 25 years ago, the increase in thefts and burglaries is monumental.
Gone are the times when people could leave their car doors and house doors unlocked on Grand Cayman. These days, thieves are stealing anything and everything they can get their hands on. In recent months we’ve heard of car thefts, boat thefts and jet-ski thefts.
We’ve heard that some people break the law and bring propane tanks indoors because they are afraid they will get stolen.
We’ve seen the police urge residents not to leave valuable items in their locked cars because it might give reason for thieves to break in.
Stealing, it seems, has become a fact of life on Grand Cayman.
Certainly the increase of population has something to do with the increase in theft. The more people in a community, the more incidents of theft there will be.
Other factors that likely play a role in increased thefts are the illegal drug usage problem and the difficult economic times.
Another thing that might be playing a role in the increased thefts is the seven-year term limit. By design, the rollover policy brings in new foreign workers to replace those that have been here seven years.
These new recruits have no track record here, unlike those they replace, who had stayed out of trouble and become a part of the community for seven years.
Regardless of the reasons, it is doubtful the current trend will reverse, and if anything, theft may increase. As unpleasant as the prospect is, Grand Cayman residents must now think about ways to prevent the theft of their personal belongings.