Police face mixed results

| 16/07/2008

George Town (CNS): In the face of a 400% increase in
the murder rate but a decrease in burglaries and other crimes, senior
police officers were able to claim a 33% drop in overall crime for the
first half of 2008, but with six men killed already this year the
results were bittersweet.

Attending a media briefing with Deputy Commissioner Anthony Ennis to
announce the half-year crime figures, Acting Commissioner David George
noted that, while the overall decline in crime was good news, he
shared the community’s concerns regarding the increase in high profile
violent crime.

“It would be wrong of me to give an overview of the crime figures
without discussing the area of crime that has gone up – murder and
attempted murder,” he said. “We have had five murders in the first six
months of this year and the events of the weekend bring the total up
to six. The RCIPS is committed to the rigorous investigation of all of
these crimes and will endeavour to secure convictions on them all. It
is very difficult to say why we have this increase, especially in
light of continual reduction in other areas of crime.”

George offered his condolences to the family of 23 year old Mark
Anthony Jefferson who was shot and killed on Friday night, 11 July,
outside Kelly’s Bar in West Bay, making him the sixth murder victim of
the year.

The Commissioner said that, while the numbers were relatively small,
any violent death was one too many and the RCIPS was taking action to
combat this increase in violence with proactive firearms strategies
and a review of the policing of license premises where crime is taking
place. George said that support from the community was also crucial in
not only solving crimes that have occurred but preventing future
crimes as well.

He added that there were no obvious connections between any of the
murders that had taken place this year and he would not be drawn into
speculating that the significant increase in murder and attempted
murder related directly to gangs and drugs.

“I am clearly concerned about the murder rate,” he said, added that it
was not necessarily appropriate to compare Cayman to other countries
because the numbers were still low. “There does not appear to be a
linkage but we are looking at intelligence and the best way to prevent
a murder is for the community to give the police the information they
require.”

George added that the RCIPS was working on any connection that there
may be but there was no rationale to say the latest murders were
related to gangs or drugs or each other, but the service was still
assessing the situation to see if their were associations between
victims and suspects.

“It is fair to say that in a number of crimes that take place around
the world drug usage is a problem, and it would be wrong for me to
suggest that isn’t the case. At the moment we do not have any
information concerning the more recent crimes to say that there is a
linkage between them and it would be wrong to draw that conclusion,”
George said.

He continued to emphasise that the police needed the help of the
community and that, even though arrests had been made in two of the
most recent murders, they continued to rely on information supplied by
the public.

With more calls and tips recorded by Crimestoppers from the Cayman
Islands this year, Ennis said that there had been a marginal
improvement in people coming forward with information for the police
but more help was still required.

“I’ve seen some improvement but it is not at the level where we want
to see and we want to make an appeal particularly to family members,”
he said, adding that it was better for parents to come forward if they
knew family members were involved in violent crime as it would be
better for them to be in prison than dead. “It will take the entire
community, not just the police, to make this island a safer place,”
added Ennis.

Both officers, however, said they were pleased that overall crime
figures were on a continued downward trend and that officers of the
RCIPS had worked diligently despite the recent disruption regarding
the internal investigation currently being undertaken by the
Metropolitan Police Service.

 

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