Robberies rise along WB road
Royal Cayman Islands Police
officers are warning the public against having a “knee jerk” reaction to an
increase in gun-related crimes on Grand Cayman over the past year and a half.
During a public meeting with hotel
and condo owners Tuesday, Inspector Anthony White referenced last week’s
shooting of a burglary suspect by a homeowner in George Town during his
presentation to the business owners about ways they could prevent crime at
“Everyone (will say) ‘Let’s arm
ourselves…you know, these bad guys have these guns. If we have a gun, we can
beat them to the door…’ ” Mr. White said.
“Research shows that if the criminal
knows that you most likely have a firearm in your home, they’re going to go
equipped,” he said. “Research also shows us…in societies where officers do
carry guns, the criminal is also more likely to arm themselves.”
Police Commissioner David Baines,
who also attended the meeting at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman along with
about three dozen local business owners, has long maintained that the RCIPS
should not be a completely armed paramilitary force. On Tuesday he said he did
not support the right of individuals to arm themselves unless they had some
reason to do so, such as hunting or sporting interests.
“Where more firearms exist, more
people end up getting shot and killed,” Mr. Baines said.
The commissioner pointed to US
Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics, which he said show that 56 American
law enforcement officers had been killed in the line of duty in 2009 and that
some 460 law officers had either taken their own lives or had killed someone
around them using their service weapon. “What’s the bigger threat in terms of
policing and safe policing?” Mr. Baines said. “Those are two stats that
actually just crystallised to me why I prefer to have a significantly unarmed
community without the right to bear arms,” he said.
Mr. White – who holds a PhD in
criminology – said other knee jerk reactions to increased crime could also harm
“We like to say that we need to
bring the death penalty back for some of these guys,” Mr. White said. “Do you
realise that in places where they’ve instituted the death penalty in the United
States of America, the murder rate went up?”
The debate over firearms
possession, a hot-button issue at most times in Cayman, has intensified further
since last Thursday’s shooting of 29-year-old Harryton Rivers-Valdespino inside
a home on Liguinea Circle near the University College of the Cayman Islands
According to police, Rivers-Valdespino
was shot and killed by a homeowner who found the man breaking into his
residence at 2am. Rivers-Valdespino had a criminal record in the Cayman Islands
and was being electronically monitored through the 911 Emergency Communications
Centre, though he had managed to remove the device before entering the Liguinea
Another issue of major interest to
West Bay Road properties owners is an increase in robberies over the past five
Though the overall number of crimes
in the West Bay Road/Seven Mile Beach area has remained almost the same within
the past year, there has been a marked increase in the number of robberies
Also, according to statistics
presented to the group, the number of female victims in those robberies increased
significantly between 2008 and 2009.
“That’s a new trend that has
surfaced,” Inspector White said, adding that, statistically, males are much
more likely to be victims in robberies than females. “It’s a bit of an
Mr. White said there were six
robberies reported each year along West Bay Road for 2008 and 2009. However, in
the first five months in 2009, there was just one robbery reported in the West
Bay Road area.
Between January and May, four
robberies have occurred. According to Inspector White, the main trouble spot in
the area since 2008 has been Helen Drive – across the street from Captain’s Bakery
and the St. Matthew’s University residence hall. There were nine criminal
offences reported there, including five robberies.
Mr. White said it’s not a bad
neighbourhood. However, he said the number of people who are out late in that
area attending bars and parties at clubs in Queens Court and Whitehall make it
fertile ground for criminals seeking an easy score.
Most robberies in the area took
place between 11.30pm and 2am, and all the victims involved were attacked while
walking down the street.
“There’s usually alcohol involved
for the victim,” Mr. White said, noting that Thursday, Friday and Saturday
nights were when most of the robberies tended to happen.
Overall crime along the West Bay
Road corridor stayed the same when comparing the first five months of 2009 and
the first five months of 2010 and the number of burglaries actually sharply decreased
during that time.
In 2009, between January and May,
there were 28 break-ins along West Bay Road. For that same time this year,
there were 18. Most of the burglaries targeted the southern end of West Bay
Road and 65 per cent of them happened while someone was inside the house that
was being broken into.
In two-thirds of the burglaries in
that area, Mr. White said, householders had not locked their doors or could not
remember if they had locked their doors.