Serious crimes rise by 1

The
number of serious crimes in Cayman during 2010 rose by one when compared to the
previous year, according to Royal Cayman Islands Police statistics.

That’s
not one percent; that’s just one crime.

“[The]
Cayman Islands is still a relatively safe place to live…we rarely see anything
in the media about that,” RCIPS Commissioner David Baines said at a Wednesday
press conference to release the year-end crime statistics where he started off
by urging the press to be balanced in its reporting.

When
comparing 2008 to 2010, RCIPS numbers show there were 81 more serious crimes
reported in 2010; an increase of about 11 per cent.

Commissioner
Baines said, while the number of serious crimes remained the same between 2009
and 2010, the types of crimes being committed were rightly giving rise to some
concerns in Cayman.

“Gang
and gun crimes spiraled to levels never before seen in the Cayman Islands,” he
said.

Robberies
went from 46 reports in 2009 to 64 reports in 2010; a 39 per cent jump. Some of
those instances were believed to involve gang initiation, Mr. Baines said.

Attempted
robberies also went up, along with attempted murders and defilement.

Some
crimes saw a drop in 2010 including burglaries, assaults, woundings and murders
– which dropped by one case from the previous year.

Drugs-related
crimes were a major concern. RCIPS officers made far fewer arrests for drugs in
2010 than in 2009 or 2008.

Mr.
Baines said this was partly due to a change in police strategy, and partly due
to staff adjustments that had left the police drugs task force with fewer
people.

He
said RCIPS was spending more time investigating drug supply chains and less
time looking to arrest street level dealers.

“It’s
quite apparent to us that there are increasing levels of cocaine,” Mr. Baines
said. “The purity of the cocaine is about as pure as you’ll get.”

In
addition, police reported a massive increase in thefts from year to year. There
were 775 thefts reported in 2010; in 564 thefts occurred in 2009, police stats
showed.

However,
information about some of the thefts – about 25 per cent of which involved cell
phones – indicated a fair few were more likely resulting from lost property
reports, rather than actual instances of stealing.

A
substantial increase in jewellery being taken in those thefts was reported
during 2010. Mr. Baines said the police were pushing for greater regulation of
second-hand shops and pawn shops where those items could be sold.

In
addition to the thefts, property damage and minor assault cases rose in 2010.
Domestic violence incidents and threatening violence reports fell.

Please
read Friday’s editions of the Caymanian Compass for much more on this story…

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