Editorial for July 25: Crime down, but where is public?

When credit is earned, credit should be duly awarded.

Figures released Wednesday indicate that local law enforcement is moving in the right direction and that overall crime in the Cayman Islands has declined significantly.

The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service tell us that crime has fallen by more than one-fifth, 20.33 per cent, during the first six months of the year, compared to the same period in 2011. That is terrific news.

Looking closer at the numbers, police say, serious crime is down 6 per cent; what they call “volume crime” – common and opportunistic offences – is down nearly 27 per cent.

Attempted murder is down 75 per cent. Robberies are down nearly half, attempted robberies down a full half and grievous bodily harm down well more than half, 58.3 per cent.

Again, this is great news. But the persistent, annoying and corrosive category of burglaries continues to rise, almost 8 per cent so far this year.

The crime is difficult for police because it is one of those “volume crimes”, committed often on the spur of the moment as someone spots an opportunity.

And this brings us to the uncompromising point we made recently in the wake of the theft of 32 air conditioners from Cayman Contractors: Without the assistance of the public, without alert neighbours, personal vigilance and a modicum of courage, the police are fated to struggle perennially to combat burglaries.

Imperatively, the public must become involved, must recognise its self-interest, must change the attitude that it’s not the business of citizens to help stop criminal activity.
If the public does not wish to contribute to those efforts, then the public has little latitude for complaint. Crime prevention is up to all of us.