Robberies increased by more than 60 percent while reported burglaries dropped by some 34 percent, according to half-year crime statistics that represent a mixed bag for the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service.
Serious crime numbers fell by nearly 26 percent in the first half of 2016 compared to the same period in 2015. However, those numbers showed a significant rise in both serious assaults and robberies during the period.
RCIPS Chief Superintendent Kurt Walton said Thursday that most of the robberies involved “muggings,” where people in the street were accosted for their belongings. There had been a few business hold-ups as well, he said.
“Two stores in West Bay were robbed [earlier this year] by the same individual,” Mr. Walton said. “That individual is now charged and before the court.”
Burglary reports dropped from 322 in the first six months of 2015, to 212 in the first half of this year.
Acting Police Commissioner Anthony Ennis attributed that drop off in burglary numbers to the fact that 25 suspects were arrested by the RCIPS since the beginning of the year, and many of their cases were also before the courts. A number of the people arrested were repeat offenders, Mr. Ennis said, including one man who has been arrested five times.
“The kids of many of these individuals I arrested [as a patrol officer in the RCIPS] … are now committing burglaries,” he said. “It’s a generational problem.”
Attempted burglary reports also fell from 48 in 2015 to 33 this year.
There were no homicides in Cayman during the first half of 2016.
RCIPS officers were troubled by a rise in other crimes, such as thefts, property damage, common assaults and threatening violence. So-called “volume crimes” went up by about 25 percent during the period.
Firearms-related offenses nearly tripled during the first six months of this year compared to 2015. Police reported 27 incidents of firearms discharge, imitation firearms possession and firearms possession between January and June. There were just 10 such incidents in the first half of 2015.
Mr. Walton said police were seizing an average of three firearms or imitation firearms per month so far in 2016.
“We weren’t seeing that previously,” he said.
Meanwhile, drugs offenses have dropped off so far in 2016. Police made 82 drug-related arrests through June 30, 2016, compared to 113 arrests in the same period last year.
The chief superintendent, who will be promoted to deputy commissioner in September, attributed the decrease to a change in policing strategy that targeted drug suppliers and importers rather than “street-level” drug dealing.
“Should we be focused on a lower level offender?” Mr. Walton asked. “Those who have an addiction?”
The number of traffic-related offenses and traffic accidents increased in the first six months of this year, but fatal accidents decreased, according to RCIPS statistics.
For the first time in a number of years, speeding tickets issued by the RCIPS saw a significant increase. Police cited 757 drivers for speeding between January and June, a 28 percent increase over last year.
Other traffic-related offenses saw decreases in the number of tickets issued so far this year.
Drunk driving citations dropped by nearly two-thirds during the first half of 2016. Police cited 66 people for DUI through June 30, 2016 compared to 163 people in the same period last year.
Cellphone driving offenses and tickets for driving without a license also declined. Citations for seat belt violations increased in the first half of the year.