A Royal Cayman Islands Police district-by-district breakdown of burglaries and related crimes has revealed that Bodden Town district saw more than a two-fold increase in home and business break-ins last year.
The number of burglaries and related crimes reported during 2017 in Bodden Town, including attempted burglary and aggravated burglary, more than doubled when compared to 2016. There were 156 burglary-related crimes in Bodden Town last year compared to just 68 during 2016.
Bodden Town still came second in overall number of burglaries for the year when compared to the larger and much more populous George Town area, but the vast majority of the increase in break-ins reported for last year came from Bodden Town district, police said.
“During the spring [of 2017], a wave of burglaries affected Bodden Town, most of which fit a similar pattern and were found to have been committed by the same group of individuals,” an RCIPS statement indicated.
Meanwhile, burglaries for East End and North Side, which have experienced similar problems in earlier years, either dropped off or stayed about the same between 2016 and 2017.
Overall, burglaries at local homes and businesses rose nearly 20 percent last year while attempted break-ins went up more than 30 percent, according to RCIPS crime statistics which compared 2017 crime reports to those for 2016.
Commercial burglaries increased sharply during 2017, going up nearly 40 percent when compared to the year before.
The RCIPS crime report also highlighted a 70 percent increase from year-to-year in criminal trespass crimes.
The police report looked at the number of burglaries committed in the islands between 2013 and 2017 and found that last year had the second-lowest number of burglaries – 515 break-ins – out of the five years. Only 2016 had a lower total. During 2014 there were nearly 700 burglaries in the islands, by 2016, that number had dropped to 439.
“It is the position of the RCIPS that even the lowest burglary figure … is still too high an annual incidence of burglary for a population of 60,000,” the police report stated.
In addition to burglaries, rapes and arson reports increased. The number of motor vehicle thefts also nearly doubled year to year.
On the positive side for the RCIPS, robberies and assaults decreased, as did thefts and damage to property reports.
Overall, the crime rate for Cayman stayed about the same during 2017 as it had in 2016, according to police records, with 31 fewer crimes being reported during last year than in 2016.
The RCIPS changed its format for reporting crimes during 2017, to include a district-by-district division for burglaries.
Police Commissioner Derek Byrne said that would be done for other serious crimes as well, following the May 1 launch of the new police website which he said would host a “pin map” for various crimes around Grand Cayman.
Mr. Byrne said the map will show – at the district level – where serious crimes were happening and would hopefully be reported on a monthly basis once the website was up and running.
“It’s a community-based policing service and we are accountable to the people we serve,” the commissioner said. “We won’t be giving away any secrets in terms of the investigations … but as much as we can give freely, we will. That’s the concept of any modern democratic policing service.”