Bank robbers frustrating Cayman

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    Grand Cayman
    has seen four robberies at local banks since February 2010, which might not
    sound like a lot compared to many other countries. However, it’s one more than
    this country has seen in the two previous decades.

    Records
    examined by the Caymanian Compass show that Cayman National Bank branches were
    robbed in 1989 1994, and 2006.

    Starting in
    February last year, another Cayman National Bank branch in Savannah was robbed,
    followed by a hold-up in September at Fidelity Bank on Dr. Roys Drive in George
    Town, and another heist in November at the Compass Centre Butterfield Bank.

    On Thursday,
    just before noon, armed robbers struck First Caribbean in Plaza Venezia on
    North Sound Road. Police said the suspects didn’t take anything from the bank,
    but two customers were robbed and witnesses said a security guard was held at
    gunpoint.

    Police
    Commissioner David Baines said earlier this year that police have visited every
    bank on Grand Cayman to review security procedures and provide tips on how to
    improve customer and employee safety.

    “Our banking
    styles reflect US models, namely, there is an open [area] between the customer
    part and the back…where you can jump over, gain access to tellers and bring
    immediate threat to individuals,” Mr. Baines said during a two-hour meeting
    with the Chamber of Commerce earlier in the year. “Of course, what we don’t
    have here [are] armed guards that in the US they do.

    “Some of you
    who’ve been to the UK will see a very different style where there’s no way you
    can get access from the public sphere into the back house,” he said. “There’s
    different means by which we design out [crime] based on the style of our
    security on the Island and the threats we face.”

    During
    Thursday’s robbery, according to witnesses, a security guard stationed outside
    the First Caribbean branch was accosted by two armed men who forced him inside
    the bank through the front door. Neither that guard nor the one inside was
    armed, as security officers typically are not in the Cayman Islands.

    People
    commenting on local websites, including the Caymanian
    Compass, have widely differing opinions on the subject of armed guards.

    One person
    commenting on Thursday’s www.caycompass.com story wrote: “Thugs know full well
    they can hold up businesses, individuals, etc and get away with it. What is the
    logic of having unarmed security guards when the criminals themselves are
    armed?”

    Others did
    not like the idea of having armed security officers: “Arming the security
    guards is a waste of time unless they are properly vetted. I, for one, don’t
    want some chump from any of the security firms to have a firearm.”

    Commissioner
    Baines urged Chamber of Commerce members to notify police immediately at the
    first sign of anything untoward happening inside or immediately outside a bank.

    “We always
    say we’d rather you call us at the first point of any suspicion rather than
    something having taken place,” Mr. Baines said. “I don’t think we’ll ever get
    to the issue, if you think about the number of banks, where we’re going to have
    a dedicated armed officer able to respond within two minutes to any sort of
    bank incident that’s taking place.”

    In any case,
    police officers who do respond to the scene of a bank robbery and find
    customers and staff inside with armed suspects will face a dilemma, the
    commissioner said.

    “If an
    offender is in a bank, the determination of policing action is to be determined
    by the first officer and their first priority is the safety of the public,
    secondly their own safety, and then the safety of the offender,” Mr. Baines
    said. “So you don’t go in blazing because you end up with collateral damage.
    Normally, the goal is containment, talk it out.

    “We are not
    averse to actually taking very direct action, and if it means shooting an
    offender who fails to comply with a clear direction on the possession of a
    firearm, then somebody is going to get shot and probably is going to get shot
    dead. There is no reluctance on the part of the police to undertake that.”

    Armed RCIPS
    officers were on the scene of Thursday’s robbery within minutes of it taking
    place, although the suspects had fled by that time.

    Mr. Baines
    said local banks have been working with the police and that many have heeded
    the additional security advice.

    “The review
    we’ve been going through with banks has been very much about looking at each
    estate, what the security is, and how we can compliment it or better still, how
    the banks can make differences,” he said. “If you go to Butterfield [in
    Governors Square], instead of having two open doors, there’s one that’s locked
    now and…security guards are positioned differently in the bank. There’s even an
    airlock they could use if they wanted to do that to slow down suspected
    individuals.”

    First
    Caribbean Managing Director Tom Crawford said the bank would continue to review
    and update security measures “based upon ever changing threats” across the
    region.

    TOPfirstcaribsceneSTORY2

    The scene Thursday outside First Caribbean just minutes after robbers struck.
    Photo: Brent Fuller
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    11 COMMENTS

    1. We are not averse to actually taking very direct action, and if it means shooting an offender who fails to comply with a clear direction on the possession of a firearm, then somebody is going to get shot and probably is going to get shot dead. There is no reluctance on the part of the police to undertake that.

      There is a marked reluctance on the part of the police in Cayman to do just that !

      Talk is cheap and these armed robbers know that the COP is just a bagga mouth talk; that’s why they have him looking like a proper fool now while counting the loot.

      Armed bank robbers in both the United States and the United Kingdom know for sure that they run the risk of being shot dead by the police when they step into a bank and shoves a gun in someone’s face.

      The poor citizens of Cayman are being held to ransome and they deserve better than that.

      Cayman’s residents need to call for the Commissioner of Police to either step up or step down.

      Its that simple.

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    2. Although this is not to be accepted or condoned, it’s quite funny that these robbers held up a bank and instead of robbing the bank they rob the customers instead…. it’s like breaking into a candy jar and stealing the wrapper.
      On a more serious note, the banks should openly publish on local newspaper their service charges as these are the true robberies.

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    3. What a poor excuse for a Police Commissioner. He states, Of course, what we don’t have here are armed guards that in the US they do.

      Has this man ever been to the US to a city the size of Cayman? I have lived in the US for 45 years, and not a SINGLE bank that I have visited (lived in half dozen States) have an armed security guard.

      What they DO have (and I don’t know if Cayman has this or not) is two things. A SILENT alarm, and dye bound money. In addition, they also RELEASE video of the bank robberies on the evening news.

      Perhaps instead of coming up with whatever he can come up with for excuses, he should try a few other tactics. WHERE are the video’s? I understand through media perhaps this one wasn’t working, but I know Jacques Scott has cameras on the outside, perhaps the traffic light does as well.

      It is really time to send this guy packing, as a diving enthusiast he should spend more time on shore.

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    4. Re: Mr. Baines said. So you don’t go in blazing because you end up with collateral damage. Normally, the goal is containment, talk it out.

      Unless an armed person is at the scene of a robbery before or within seconds (not minutes), of its start, there is little chance of containment, talk it out. To make matters worse, those who are anti-armed anyone, don’t understand that unarmed persons don’t just contain armed robbers. If you disagree with my logic, I clearly understand why you’re frustrated, but I hope you enjoy being frustrated, because that will most likely be the future of the unarmed.

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    5. Containment is applicable if the offender is harming the public or there’s imminent threat to the public the likes of shooting rampage or scenario in a hostage crisis. In Cayman style bank robbery, robbers have not enough resources to harm as they only have short guns (not sure if real) to scare the public, a kid’s stuff bonnet, and all they want is money.

      To me police goal should focus on arresting the offender, not containment. The safety of the police officer is always a priority but it should not compromise the objective of arresting the offender. I think coward and careful have different meaning.

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    6. yeah, let’s keep criticisizing the Police for not catching the criminals, and the victims for not making their premises into a fortress.
      When are people going to start criticizing the CRIMINALS? Loads of you know who they are but are too gutless to turn them in. Shame on you.

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    7. The more one reads the statements by Commissioner Baines, the more despicable and disgraceful they sound…

      Reading between the lines, what he’s saying is that the police could be doing more to stop these robberies but are not…

      For, fear of the threat to officers safety, the safety (!!???) of the gunmen robbing banks and other businesses, the fear that the police might have to shoot some of these robbers dead blah blah blah.

      Obviously, the safety of law-abiding citizens and their hard earned money and valuables is way down on the list of priorities for this Police Commissioner.

      What this means is that the police are actually standing back and allowing these robberies to take place and holding the banks and businesses responsible for their own security and safety while denying them the proper tools with which to do it.

      If David Baines was the Chief Constable of any police division in Britain faced with the threat of armed robbers acting with impunity and had made such a statement and taken no more action than he has done…

      He would have been out of a job a long time ago.

      When will the citizens of Cayman get some guts and stop being treated like doormats by him and those like him ?

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    8. Today in Chula Vista, CA a security guard shot a thief in the head after the thief broke into a local Apple store.

      Welcome to America.

      I think we can learn a few things from this.

      1. Security guards may not always have the best judgement.
      2. Thieves definitely don’t have good judgement.

      Should we really be putting the two together?

      I am from Canada and I’ve lived in NZ. We don’t allow guns in those countries and we don’t have a lot of gun violence. America on the other hand has tremendous gun violence.
      What future do you choose?

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    9. Police block off an area by the Apple Store at the Otay Ranch Town Center in Chula Vista, Calif. on Monday, April 4, 2011. Police say a private security guard fatally shot a suspect carrying out a smash-and-grab burglary at a California Apple store, a common tactic in which thieves break the windows and grab iPads, iPhones and other hot-ticket items and run. Chula Vista Police Chief David Bejarano says the man and two other people drove to the store just before 7 a.m. Monday. A woman stayed in the car while the two men smashed the store’s window and grabbed items when the guard confronted them. The guard says he opened fire when one of the men pulled a gun. The suspects drove away but crashed into a light pole. Bejarano says the driver died from a gunshot wound to the head. The two other suspects were found an hour later. (AP Photo/The San Diego Union-Tribune, John Gibbins)

      Mambeam

      Here is a news report of the incident;your views are obviously biased against firearms but if you are going to comment on an incident, at least provide an independent version of the incident and let readers judge for themselves.

      Note the sequence and seriousness of this robbery and that the security guard opened fire when the robbers produced their own gun.

      This security guard did nothing absolutely nothing wrong and should be commended for doing his job very well in the face of serious harm to himself by armed robbers.

      This is exactly what the Cayman Islands is not doing.

      Protecting its citizens and their property from armed predators who are running amok with impunity.

      By your reckoning, and that of the Commissioner of Police in Cayman, the hard-working, law-abiding citizens should now be happy to have their money and property taken off them at gunpoint so the police won’t have to do what this security guard did.

      Their job !

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    10. LOL oh mambeam, you are funny.

      Canada does allow firearms. They have these people called hunters who can arm themsevles with semi auto rifles. And shot guns. And others that own hand guns.

      As well, EVERY POLICE OFFICER in canada is armed. Even the desk jockeys!

      And what your saying is the security guard shot and killed a robber…whats the problem?

      I would go over and kick that dead robber in the head and spit on him afterwards. No remorse.

      Dont’ want to be treated like garbage. Then dont’ act like garbage.

      But wanna bet, that store won’t be getting smashed and grabbed for awhile (smile)

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    11. I would like to comment about the statement that there are armed guards in the banks in the USA. I know of no armed guards in the banks normally frequented by everyday customers and businesses. There are possibly armed guards in the larger corporate banks not normally frequented by everyday citizens. There are also armed guards who are involved in the transportation of large amounts of valuable papers and large sums of money. It is a shame that some people believe that the taking of money or property and use firearms to do so. But if it was not a gun, it could be a bomb or knives or machetes or sword. Those people don’t care and want only look for self satisfaction. I am sorry it is happening in Grand Cayman, as it has happened in Jamaica. But as the world tries to become one, which is not a good thought, you will see more and more in your country.

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    Comments are closed.