Public wants to get tough on criminals

The majority of the 572 respondents
to last week’s online poll believe increasing prison sentences
and making prison a harsher place is the best way of dealing with Cayman’s
rising crime issue.

The largest segment of voters, 309
people or 54 per cent, want to see a tougher stance on criminals.

“Criminals who are convicted of
violent crimes or who are caught with illegal guns need to be kept behind bars
for a long time and treated like the serious criminals they are,” said one
person. “I don’t care whose child they are because they are ruining Cayman.”

“The rate of recidivism in Cayman
is shockingly high and sentences too light,” said another respondent. “I have
heard several officers say how frustrating it is to work hard at putting these
thugs away, only to see them get slap-on-the-wrists sentences and then get out
and reoffend.  After a certain point,
there should be a mandatory term for life, or at least until old age has
rendered them incapable of reoffending.”

“Give prisoners bread and water
only and not turtle meat and fish, and take away the air conditioning and their
fan,” said someone else.

“All prisoners need to be made to
do hard labour to help pay back for the public funds that are spent on them,”
said another respondent. “Amend the law so that those sentenced for violent
crimes cannot be eligible for parole or early release.”

“Prison is like a holiday in
Cayman,” said someone else. “Let’s get tough for our own sake.”

An additional 121 people – 21.1 per
cent – think arming all police officers is the way to deal with crime.

“Officers that have carried
firearms in the past should be allowed to continue carrying them and ones who
have never carried should be given a very in-depth training programme to be
allowed to carry them,” said one respondent.

“Conduct raids on suspected
criminals and repeat offenders,” said someone else.

“Bring a group of mercenaries in to
deal with the criminal element to give us back our community,” another

Sixty-nine people (12 per cent)
said the way rising crime should be dealt with is by allowing the public to own
weapons for self-defence.

“Allow the public to have pepper
spray and Tasers,” said one person.

“The public should be allowed to
have guns,” said someone else.

Thirty-three respondents (5.7 per
cent) thought a gun amnesty should be offered.

“If I’m not mistaken, this turned
out to be quite successful when the RCIPS offered it a few years ago,” said one

“Offer gun amnesty and increase the
harshness of laws for those that had the opportunity to change their criminal
ways and did not,” said another respondent.

Forty people (seven per cent)
suggested other ways of dealing with crime.

“Provide better education services
from an early age,” said one person. “Prevention is the best way to deal with

“Start with the parents,” said
someone else.  “They are the ones who
have allowed their children to do what they want since they are little kids.”

“Start hanging convicted killers in
public for everyone to see,” said another respondent.

“Given the path we have chosen and
seem to be determined to stay on, there is no fix,” said another person. “Crime
is a natural result of the choices we have made for our society over the last
50 years.”

 “All the above,” said someone else. “Crime is
such a big issue right now; we need to do everything we can to get it under control.”