Top cop: Weapons being swapped

Guns for rent?

Arrests for possession of unlicensed firearms more than doubled in the first six months of 2011, according to crime statistics released by Royal Cayman Islands Police last week.  

The police records revealed there were 14 cases of illegal firearms reported in the first half of this year, compared to just six in the same period of 2010.  

It may not sound like a success story, but to RCIPS Commissioner David Baines, it means more illegal weapons have been taken off the streets – and more importantly – crucial pieces of evidence in previous crimes have been located.  

“Some of those firearms that we’ve recovered have been directly linked to three, and in one case, four separate serious offences,” Mr. Baines said Thursday.  

Mr. Baines said in some of those cases one firearm was passed between different criminal offenders, then hidden somewhere, picked up and used again.  

“We’ve had weapons recovered that have been buried, we’ve had other instances where it’s a clear storage and its handed off to specific individuals,” he said. “We’ve even had instances where its suggested they’re rented out for a given period.”  

Although shootings on Grand Cayman dropped off in the latter half of 2010 and the early part of this year, firearms were reported to have been used in many of the 39 robberies here since January to threaten victims.  

In the two most recent incidents, 28-year-old Kemar Golding and 57-year-old Medsadie Connor were shot by the men who robbed them.  

Mr. Baines believes the two incidents were largely “crimes of opportunity”, and that the violence displayed in the heists – which occurred on 29 June and 13 July – was worrying.  

“We could just as easily have been investigating two murders here,” he said.  

However, the trading off of weapons among criminal suspects, while troubling, is also a sign to police that there is a limited availability of illegal weapons on Grand Cayman, Mr. Baines said.  

“There are still too many firearms, as (Wednesday night’s) shooting indicated,” Commissioner Baines said. “But what it does say is that we’re not awash with firearms. If that were the case, why would there be a need for different offenders, different gang members…to have a collective crew of weapons?”  

One of the police service’s top criminal investigators, Superintendent Marlon Bodden, said police have been successful in taking illegal firearms off the streets to some extent.  

A gun amnesty period in 2010 ended with 26 weapons – including guns, bows and arrows, a grenade and a taser – being surrendered. Since that amnesty, Mr. Bodden said some 30 firearms and about 2,300 rounds of ammunition had been recovered by police between mid-June 2010 and mid-June 2011. .  

In addition, another 17 firearms were either seized at Cayman’s port or in the US in packaging that was earmarked for Cayman. The weapons seizures occurred between 2009 and 2010.  

That adds up to 73 weapons – mostly firearms or items adapted to be used as firearms – being taken off local streets.  

“It sounds good that we’ve made these seizures, but a lot of crimes have been committed after that,” Mr. Bodden said.  

RCIPS is again trying a gun amnesty this month, running through 31 July. People can turn in weapons at the George Town, Bodden Town, West Bay and Cayman Brac police stations. 

1 COMMENT

  1. Ok Baines,
    Ear marked for Grand Cayman shipping the guns to WHO? Who is the recipient on the paying end? I mean who is the IMPORTER? Have you apprehended him or her I’m sure the shipment had a name of the receiver. Can’t you bring him or her to justice? We need to know who this is so that the public can keep an eye on them.

  2. It is somewhat reassuring to know that arrests for unlicensed firearms more than doubled for the first six months of 2011, compared to the same period of 2010.

    Mr Baines reported that one firearm was passed between different criminals, then hidden, picked up and used again. Unless I’m missing something, if the RCIPS is aware of this practice, shouldn’t steps be taken to eliminate the practice?

    Another thing that’s of great concern is gang operation in Cayman. Can’t these thugs and their modus operandi be wiped out? Gangs all over are a source of great evil deadly criminal activities. I can’t conceive that law abiding residents don’t know or have information that would assist RCIPS to deal with these gang members!

    It is some relief to know that 73 weapons (mostly firearms) were taken off the streets btween 2010 and 2011. So far so good. However, there is much, much more left to be done to drastically reduce the current crime level on the island.

  3. Are these people serious about this Gun Amnesty? Guns do not kill people; people kill people… who comes up with these ideas… which criminal in would want to turn over his weapon.. come on take your head out of the sand

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