Despite a recent rash of high-profile armed robberies in Grand Cayman, Royal Cayman Islands Police Service crime statistics for 2012 show the lowest murder and robbery rates here in at least five years.
Overall crime levels during 2012 were comparable to 2008, according to a Caymanian Compass review of police service crime statistics, which also show a considerable decline in violent crimes since 2010.
Cayman recorded just one homicide in 2012, coming just at the end of the year in George Town. The death of 23-year-old Jackson Rainford on 16 December was the first fatal shooting in Cayman in about 15 months.
The one homicide in 2012 also bucked a disturbing trend in the British Overseas Territory since 2008, when murders – particularly gang-related killings – had become more frequent. In 2008, the Cayman Islands recorded seven murders; in 2009, there were eight people murdered; in 2010 there were seven murders; and in 2011 there were six homicides.
Five of the six killings in 2011 occurred within 10 days of one another in September and at least four of them appeared to be related to ongoing gang disputes in George Town and West Bay, according to police. That series of deadly shootings led to requests from local law enforcement to bring in additional investigators from the United Kingdom to help solve the crimes.
There was no recurrence of any similar incidents during 2012. In fact, attempted murder cases dropped from 14 reported during 2008 and 15 reported during 2010 to just eight reported last year.
Reported robberies also declined during 2012 to levels not seen in the last five years. The Cayman Islands saw 39 robberies over the last year. Robberies reached record highs during the previous three years; in 2009 the territory reported 46 robberies, in 2010 there were 64 heists and in 2011 there were 67 reported robberies – believed to be the highest number of robberies ever reported in Cayman.
In 2008, there were just 38 robberies reported in the Cayman Islands.
Both serious and volume crimes declined significantly between 2011 and 2012, according to police service reports.
In addition to the declines in murders and robberies, assaults, attempted robberies, attempted murders, burglaries and firearms possession all dropped when comparing 2011 to 2012.
Some serious crimes, including rape and wounding cases, went up. Both increased significantly with rapes going from 12 in 2011 to 19 in 2012. Wounding incidents jumped 50 per cent, going from 14 in 2011 to 21 in 2012.
Overall, serious crimes declined by more than 17 per cent between 2011 and 2012.
Most categories of volume crimes recorded by police went down, with the exception of incidents of threatening violence. Reports of theft, damage to property, common assaults and domestic violence reports all declined during 2012.
Drug arrests also declined during 2012, going from 231 to 190. However, police investigators have often noted that fewer drugs arrests are not always a good indicator of the levels of the crime that occurs.