To accompany the ongoing Compass Point series on crime, our online poll last week asked readers how safe they felt in Cayman compared to other Caribbean islands.
Not surprisingly, the large majority of respondents said they felt safer here than elsewhere in the Caribbean. When comparing crime rates in Cayman to most of the rest of the Caribbean, there really isn’t much comparison. As one respondent who felt much safer here said, “Anyone who says different is just trying to stir the pot”.
Still, some of the comments to the poll were quite telling. One tourist said he had stopped coming to Cayman, at least for the time being, because of the increase in crime. Another resident said he hardly ever goes out anymore for fear of crime and to protect his already once-burgled home.
Someone else said our poll question was asking respondents to compare apples to oranges and suggested an apples-to-apples comparison would be to ask people how safe they feel in Cayman now as opposed to previously.
Indeed, most long-time residents of Grand Cayman would say they feel much less safe now than, say, even 10 years ago, let alone 20 or 30 years ago, when few people even bothered to lock their homes or cars.
It’s clearly evident that Cayman has become much less safe than it was in the not-so-distant past and the increasing crime is not only chasing tourists away, it’s also deteriorating our quality of life.
Cayman can still probably boast that it’s the safest island in the Caribbean, but that boast is small comfort to anyone who has been a victim of crime here in recent years.
The good news is crime spikes are reversible with strong law enforcement efforts supported by the community. Anyone who doubts this need only look at what has happened in New York City since the late 1980s and early 1990s.
We might never get back to the point where people don’t lock their homes or cars again, but most of us would readily settle for the same feeling of safety we had here just seven years ago, in the days of relative innocence before Hurricane Ivan.