Burglars steal much more than our possessions

There are few things that will diminish the quality of life in a country more quickly than fear.

And that, we are afraid to say, is a direct consequence of the burglaries and break-ins that have been plaguing Grand Cayman in recent weeks. If you don’t have a sense of security — for your person, your loved ones and your possessions — within your own home, where can you feel safe?

The most sensational such headline to appear in the Compass this summer, of course, was the truly terrifying incident that occurred June 26, when three armed men — wearing masks and carrying guns — kicked in the door of a home in Raleigh Quay, disregarding the baby sitter and two young children who were present, and heading straight for a back bedroom to loot an undisclosed amount of cash that had been raised in a Rotary Sunrise car raffle.

As far as we know, the three suspects are still roaming free, despite CrimeStoppers offering a record $110,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the men responsible for the crime.

In the meantime, Cayman has been experiencing crimes of a less confrontational nature, but which in the aggregate pose an equal danger to the long-term well-being of the country.

Since June 26, the day of the brutish home invasion in Raleigh Quay, and up to July 10, Cayman police received 34 reports of burglaries or attempted burglaries of residences and businesses, with the criminals’ usual modus operandi being to break into homes during broad daylight and help themselves to electronics and other valuables while the rightful owners are at work.

We are not naïve. We certainly understand that Cayman — like every other society — has always had its share of malefactors and malcontents. Our concern is that they appear to be increasing in number and becoming increasingly brazen. They are overwhelming the resources of the police, the prosecutors’ office and the courts.

And the issue is even worse than it appears.

From first-hand experience, we can report that the police do not automatically, or even routinely, inform media organizations in a timely manner about all the break-ins that are reported to them. Consequently we must conclude that the burglaries and other crimes reported by the media, including the Compass, understate the magnitude of the problem.

The purpose of our criminal justice system should be to keep criminals — not information — under lock and key.

Hopefully that is about to change. We are pleased to welcome Jacqueline Carpenter to the RCIPS and the Cayman Islands. Ms. Carpenter, who takes on the important post of police spokesperson, appears to be an experienced and capable professional who is approaching her new position with an appropriate level of enthusiasm. Already she has met with journalists in the Compass newsroom and has been providing us and other media with useful and germane information.

For your first “assignment,” may we suggest keeping us (and, by extension, the greater public) informed about each burglary, robbery and home invasion that occurs — not to mention every other serious crime — so that Cayman residents can arm themselves with facts, in order to prepare for and protect against the criminal element among us.


  1. Many, many years ago when I was much younger and more foolish I lived in London, England.

    At that time soft drink cans came with a ring pull off opener. Someone discovered if one pushed the ring into a parking meter it jammed it. One could then put a note on your car, "Meter Not Working" and you could park for free.

    This became quite popular and I will confess that I did this myself a couple of times when I was low on change.

    The government then changed the law and there was a 2 years in prison for meter tampering.

    Of course I never did it again and the practice died out.

    My point is that the punishments for being caught breaking and entering and armed robbery must be BRUTAL ENOUGH to deter anyone from taking the chance, however slim, of being caught.

    Personally I’m in favor of capital punishment, but failing that a mandatory 50 year prison sentence would shift the risk-reward equation in these people’s heads.

    And consider making it a crime to keep quiet about a person you know to be a criminal. If $110,000 reward isn’t enough to get an informant, then maybe the thought of a 5 year prison sentence for keeping quiet would.

    I apologize in advance if it appears I am advocating trampling on criminals "human rights". I’m just more concerned about the right of the victims to live in peace.

  2. Does anybody that is in a position of authority actually care? Have any steps been taken to give law abiding people the right to protect themselves and their families?

  3. Crime stoppers reward of $110,000.00 is a great reward for the Raleigh Quay Burglary. However I am concerned that the amount which was stolen has not been made known to the public. Saying this to say, that Marl road rumor has it that the amount taken was 100.00 one hundred dollars. Can we clear this up against the 110,000. dollar reward.

  4. Just want to clarify my earlier comment.

    When I said, "And consider making it a crime to keep quiet about a person you know to be a criminal."

    I mean that they know that the person has committed a violent, armed crime.

    So 50 years without parole for using a weapon in furtherance of a crime.

    Who agrees?