Serious crimes rise 44 per cent

A massive increase in burglary reports in the first half of this year was the major contributor to an overall 44 per cent jump in serious crimes and an overall 13 per cent increase in crime in the Cayman Islands.

According to statistics released Thursday morning by the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, there were 300 burglaries reported in Cayman between 1 January and 30 June of this year. That’s nearly a 55 percent increase when compared to the same period last year.

Thefts also showed some increase, going from 188 reported thefts in the first six months of 2008 to 204 thefts reported in the first six months of this year.

‘Inquisitive crime, where people steal items to sell on, could be expected to rise during an economic downturn,’ Police Commissioner David Baines said. ‘We have been looking at measures to counteract this.’

RCIPS has previously vowed to crack down on the spate of burglaries across the Cayman Islands with a number of measures including road blocks around burglary ‘hot-spots’ and increased focus on repeat offenders.

‘Wherever we see a spike (in burglaries), we will increase the roadblocks,’ RCIPS Superintendent Marlon Bodden said earlier this month. ‘It’s going to be an operational decision based on certain areas. We will try our best to minimise the impact to the motoring public.’

‘Officers will not search a car unless they have formed the view that there are reasonable grounds to suspect (passengers) have done something illegal.’

Mr. Bodden said some of the items stolen in recent break-ins, including TVs and certain larger types of electronics, can only be transported by vehicles to locations where they are to be sold. He said police are hoping some burglars can be nabbed in the act while transporting the goods.

‘There is a market for these items, particularly smaller electronics such as iPods,’ Superintendent Bodden said. ‘The public needs to be aware that handling stolen goods is a crime under Cayman Islands law, punishable by up to 14 years in prison upon conviction.’

There were mixed reports regarding violent crimes. Murders decreased in the first six months of this year. However, those figures did not include recent shootings that have claimed two young men in West Bay and George Town. Attempt murder reports also fell.

Robberies and attempted burglaries increased by 50 per cent each. There were also five more reports of illegal possession of firearms in the first six months of this year.

Major assaults, minor assaults, threatening violence, and damage to property all increased in the first half of 2009 as well.

Read more about this story in tomorrow’s Caymanian Compass