Seven burglaries and one attempted burglary have been reported to police in the Rum Point area of North Side district within a month, leading police commanders to reopen the district police station in response to community fears about crime.
An eighth burglary was reported in the North Side area – on Old Robin Road – between Oct. 6 and Nov. 3, according to the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service.
Five of the break-ins were reported by property managers or homeowners who had just arrived at their winter vacation properties ahead of the tourism high season. They had not been at the residences for some time and could not tell police exactly when the burglaries happened.
Generally, items such as flat-screen televisions, iPads and video game consoles were taken.
Several other burglaries occurred while residents who occupied the properties full-time were away at work during the day, police said. Jewelry and relatively small amounts of cash, as well as some electronic items, were taken in those incidents.
In response to the rash of recent burglary reports, police reopened the North Side Police station on Hutland Road over the weekend, and neighborhood police and traffic officers patrolled the district on Saturday and Sunday.
The police high command has decided to reopen the station full-time, starting Monday, Nov. 28.
Police clarified that one officer will staff the station between 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Monday to Friday, performing a largely community policing-oriented role. However, the officer will respond to calls from the public just like any other RCIPS officer while on duty.
North Side operations
Covert operations in the area also targeted burglary suspects, but no arrests were immediately reported as a result of those efforts over the weekend. During the police operations, 17 tickets were issued for traffic-related offenses.
Police Superintendent Robert Graham said he was glad to hear reports from his officers that North Side residents responded positively to the increased patrols.
“We want to assure them … that we are doing all we can to stop these break-ins and restore the sense of security that North Side is used to,” Mr. Graham said.
Inside the police station Saturday, Sgt. Davis Scott went through lists of addresses that had reported burglaries over the past month.
Sgt. Scott said residents in the area had expressed a number of concerns about the recent break-ins and want full-time police service in the district.
Police announced two years ago that a neighborhood policing officer was to be stationed and to reside at the substation, which is outfitted as a residence on one side and a police station on the other. However, that plan never came to fruition and it fell to a group of district residents to maintain the property this year when weeds started to overgrow the station fence.
Neighborhood policing officers Lazarus Moraes and Jaclyn Ebanks were pulled off their normal assignments in Bodden Town and George Town for bike patrols Saturday in the Rum Point Drive area in response to the break-ins.
“Riding through slowly on a bicycle, we might notice a bit more [than on a police car patrol],” Officer Moraes said. “If we see a broken window, or something suspicious where the residents are away, we’ll report it.”
According to various reports received by the Cayman Compass, more than a half-dozen crimes were alleged to have occurred in North Side district since late 2015 and into the early part of this year.
In one incident, a U.S. tourist claimed her family was targeted after being spotted at a local restaurant by a suspect or suspects who identified their rental vehicle.
In another case, from February, it is alleged that two tourists woke up to find a burglar in their room and chased the man out and around the parking lot of the complex where they were staying.
Those incidents, in addition to a burglary/home invasion in February on Rum Point Drive and a January incident in which an elderly visitor was punched in the face during a robbery, have left district residents and some longtime tourists worried.