Homicides, robberies, burglaries up
A steady decline in crimes reported in Cayman over the past 15 months has been reversed during the first nine months of this year, Royal Cayman Islands Police Service crime statistics show.
The statistics, compiled from Jan. 1 through Sept. 30, reveal a 15 percent increase in overall crime when compared with the same period of 2012 and a 33.6 percent increase in what the RCIPS considers “serious crime.”
The rise in crime is being driven largely by a huge increase in burglaries since the start of the year. According to police records, there have been 540 break-ins reported this year, through Sept. 30.
Between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30, 2012, the three islands had reported 370 burglaries. That’s a more than 45 percent increase in burglaries between the two years.
Another major area of concern was robberies, a crime that saw a sharp decline during 2012. Through Sept. 30 this year, 38 robberies were reported, compared to 30 reported as of Sept. 30, 2012. That’s nearly a 27 percent increase in robberies for the first nine months of the year.
Murder reports only showed one killing through Sept. 30. However, there have been two more homicides this month that would not have shown up in the nine-month crime figures. Cayman saw one murder for all of 2012.
Other areas of reported “serious crime” stayed the same through the first nine months of 2013. Reported abductions decreased by one case, aggravated burglaries stayed the same [three reported each year], attempted burglaries fell by four cases in 2013, assaults dropped by six cases, and reported rapes fell by two cases.
The number of attempted robberies, woundings and attempted murders stayed practically the same from year-to-year.
The statistics were disappointing for the police service, which in 2012 reported the lowest murder and robbery rates in Grand Cayman within the past five years. RCIPS Chief Superintendent Kurt Walton said the police service had anticipated the rise in break-ins and had made that public earlier in 2013.
“We have never shied away from the fact that an increase in burglaries would impact our overall crime figures,” Mr. Walton said.
The one homicide in 2012 bucked a disturbing trend in Cayman 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.
So far this year, three people have died in shootings in Grand Cayman.
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 reported robberies in 2012. 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, the same number of robberies was reported for the first nine months of 2013.
Other crimes reported by the RCIPS were a mixed bag, with decreases reported in the first nine months of this year in thefts and domestic violence cases and increases in damage to property, common assaults and threatening violence cases.
Thefts dropped from 529 reported cases in the first nine months of 2012 to 489 cases in January to September of this year.
Domestic violence reports declined by nearly 21 percent, going from 126 this year to 159 in the first nine months of 2012. Police often state, however, that a decline in domestic-related incidents often means that fewer victims are choosing to report it.
Common assault cases rose about 12 percent year on year, while damage to property incidents increased nearly 50 percent between 2012 and 2013.