Police ‘clear’ 45% of criminal cases on average

Rate improves despite more crime reports

The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service has “cleared up” an average of 45 percent of the criminal cases reported between 2011 and last year, figures revealed in the government’s 2015 statistical compendium show.

The 45 percent case clearance rate is significantly lower than the rates local police reported between 2006-2009 – which averaged about 60 percent – but it is an improvement on the year 2010, when just 30 percent cases reported were cleared.

Clearance, in policing terms, means a criminal case was either brought to court with charges filed or that police found insufficient evidence that a crime was committed following an investigation. The rates do not indicate the conviction rate for any crime.

In 2015, 3,685 crimes were reported and 1,775 were cleared “by year end,” according to the statistics, resulting in a 48 percent case clearance rate for the year.

The statistics only show the cases that were cleared up by the end of the same year. It is possible that other cases may be cleared in subsequent years, so the number of investigations the RCIPS completed may be substantially higher than what is initially stated in the report.

In 2014, with nearly 4,000 crimes reported, a total of 1,781 cases were cleared up by year’s end, a 45 percent clearance rate. Clearance rates also vary drastically for different types of crime. For instance, burglary has a typically low rate – averaging about 25 percent between 2013 and 2015, according to the figures.

Other crimes, like common assault or drugs offenses recorded a much higher clearance rate, year-to-year. For instance, police reported clearing 81 percent of the drugs-related offenses reported during 2015, and 54 percent of those reported during 2014.

The records also show that the number of crimes being recorded and investigated by the police has substantially increased over the past five years.

In 2011, statistics show 3,000 crimes were reported to the RCIPS. That number, by 2014 had increased to 3,948 – about 31 percent. In 2015, the reports tapered off slightly to 3,685 crimes reported for the year.

Court cases

Criminal cases before the Summary Court also increased substantially during the same five year period.

Government statistics showed 1,641 criminal cases before the lower court during 2015, compared to 1,290 in 2011, a 27 percent increase.

The Summary Court saw more criminal cases last year than it has seen at any time in the past decade, the records show.

The number of juvenile court cases, involving those between the ages of 11-17, saw a sharp spike during 2015. There were 63 cases before the court involving juveniles last year, compared to just 33 in 2014 and 23 in 2013. Despite concerns about prison overcrowding in recent months, statistics showed the average daily prison population in the Cayman Islands had decreased from five years ago.

In 2011, Northward and Fairbanks prisons together averaged 215 inmates. Last year, the average population was 190 inmates.