The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service got burglaries under control during 2016, but an increase in gun crimes for the year has the department concerned.
According to crime statistics released for last year, burglaries fell from 652 reported in 2015 to 440 reported last year, a drop of 33 percent. Attempted burglaries also fell by 44 percent during the same period.
The RCIPS was cautious about the drop in the numbers.
“It is our position that 440 burglaries on these islands in the course of one year are still too many,” an RCIPS statement indicated. “Those who have had their homes or businesses burgled in 2016 will not be encouraged by these lower numbers.”
Police said some 222 people were arrested for burglary offenses during 2015-2016 and those who served lengthy sentences for the crime were still off the streets. However, a disturbing trend has been noted in late 2016 and early this year, with the break-in numbers on the rise again, police said.
The number of serious crimes such as murders, robberies, attempted murders, rapes, assaults, and attempted rapes stayed about the same from year-to-year.
However, there were significant increases in both discharges of firearms and possession of unlicensed firearms during the last year. Police made 12 more arrests for firearms possession in 2016 than they did in 2015, and firearms discharges went from two reports to eight reports.
While firearms continue to pose a significant threat, police said not all of the incidents were due to gang-related violence.
“Our investigations indicate that a number of firearm and other serious violence come about as a result of personal disputes, especially of a domestic nature, that rapidly escalate,” the police statement read.
Total violent crimes decreased by 29 percent for the year, mostly because of the sharp drop in burglaries.
Overall crime numbers for 2016 increased by about 15 percent, largely due to a reported increase in more minor crimes including theft, damage to property, threatening violence and common assaults.
Reports of domestic violence also went up by a whopping 82 percent during 2016 when compared to 2015.
While crime numbers were a mixed bag for the RCIPS, traffic statistics for the year were decidedly more positive.
Cayman saw far fewer fatal accidents on local roads during 2016. Six motorists died during 2016 collisions compared to 12 in 2015.
Meanwhile, recorded statistics for every single category of traffic offense went up during 2016.
Those numbers include a 42 percent increase in the number of speeding offenses, a 12 percent increase in drunk driving offenses and a 49 percent increase in citations for unlicensed driving.