Premier says investment in crime fighting has paid off

Investment in community policing is paying off, Premier Alden McLaughlin said Thursday.

Highlighting a steep drop in the burglary rate, McLaughlin said his government’s decision to fund 75 new officers had helped police get crime under control.

He said the introduction of community beat officers, as well as new Neighbourhood Watch schemes, had helped make Cayman a safer place.

“The success of that approach is demonstrated in the statistics released last week,” the premier said in a statement.

The crime figures showed the burglary rate had dropped to its lowest point since 2000, something police attributed to the arrest of a number of high-profile, prolific offenders. Overall, police logged a total of 3,453 crimes in 2018 – a decrease of 3% on the previous year. Of those, 1,335 were classified as ‘serious crimes’, which includes murder, rape, robbery, assault and burglary.

Reports of domestic abuse were up substantially, while traffic offences increased amid a renewed enforcement effort. There were also increases in the amount of drugs and guns seized from smugglers.

McLaughlin said the new coastguard unit and the merger of customs and immigration into a single border force would help make further inroads in that area.

The National Security Council has also commissioned a new anti-gang strategy, which McLaughlin said would look at crime prevention as well as detection.

“I believe the most significant contribution to long-term crime reduction, besides a good education, will come from the early identification of young people at risk of offending behaviour, and implementing programmes to help them make better life choices – choices that will benefit them, their families and their communities,” he said.

“The anti-gang strategy that the National Security Council has commissioned will be an important part of our efforts to support young people, as well as targeting gang activity directly.”

He said the crime statistics were positive news, but not a reason to be complacent.

“Community safety is not just a policing issue. The whole of government has a role to play and communities themselves contribute to their own safety. The 2018 crime statistics show that by working together we have helped to make Cayman safer. We must all do our part to maintain that improvement over the years to come.”

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