An armed robbery of a George Town waterfront bar-restaurant and another robbery at the southern end of West Bay Road have been reported this week, accentuating ongoing problems with crime businesses in one of Cayman’s major tourism districts have reported since the beginning of the year.
On Monday night, two masked armed robbers walked into Da Fish Shack on North Church Street while it was still open and demanded cash.
The two suspects made off with the cash register and held up a bar customer for cash and cell phone before making off. A bar employee also had a cell phone stolen. The entire take from the robbery was estimated at $600. No one was hurt.
Da Fish Shack co-owner Ian Wight said Monday’s holdup was the first robbery to occur at the waterfront eatery this year, but he noted the place has been hit be burglars several times since January.
“This one guy broke in twice, I think a police officer caught him by hiding in the bushes [outside the restaurant],” Mr. Wight said. “But it’s a bit more serious when you’ve got [robbers] going into your place.”
Just up the road on Sunday night, a man walking down West Bay Road near Andy’s Rent-A-Car was robbed by a machete-wielding suspect who took his leather wallet. The victim, a resident of the Cayman Islands, was not hurt.
Close by Da Fish Shack on North Church Street is Cayman Cabana, another outside eatery and bar which has not experienced a robbery in 2014.
However, owner Luigi Moxam says his business has been broken into nine times since the beginning of the year, including five times in the month of August, all of them allegedly by the same suspect.
“He’s been arrested now,” Mr. Moxam said. “We don’t leave any cash in the place after closing, but people were coming in and damaging the coolers. We used to keep beers in there.”
The recent spate of crimes has, to a certain extent, forced the Cabana to close earlier than Mr. Moxam would like it, particularly in the low tourism season.
“[A robbery occurred] at Rackam’s and now its happened at the Shack,” he said, noting Cabana might have been chosen for Monday night’s robbery if it hadn’t closed down at 9 p.m.
“It’s not necessarily a bad area, but [crime] is a part of the day-to-day concern. It’s already a struggle for us to generate some interest to come into George Town [at night] and things like this don’t help,” Mr. Moxam said.
According to Royal Cayman Islands Police records, the Cayman Islands overall crime rate increased by nearly 28 percent during the first six months of this year.
Reports of burglaries and robberies – which have plagued the Caribbean territory over the past two years – were not the reason for the crime spike. In fact, serious crime reports – including break-ins – actually declined slightly between January and June 2014 when compared to the same period last year.
The main driver for the crime rate increase, according to statistics released by the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service last week, involved petty thefts, damage to property and threats of violence.
According to the police records, theft offenses increased by 80 percent during the first six months of 2014, going from 237 thefts reported in the first half of 2013 to 427 in 2014. Damage to property offenses increased from 152 to 234 during the same period.
Allegations of threats of violence increased from 60 reports last year to 72 this year, while minor assaults and reports of domestic violence fell slightly.