A creeping fear

| 21/10/2009

I was robbed on Grand Cayman this past weekend. Sometime between the time I went to bed around 11 pm on Saturday night (October 17th) and the time I woke at 5 am on Sunday morning, at least one person cut the screen on the patio adjacent to the living room where I’m staying in Snug Harbour and entered the townhouse, stealing cash and a laptop belonging to the University College of the Cayman Islands.

Having just been part of the Silent Witness March on Saturday afternoon in George Town on the anniversary of Estella Scott-Roberts’ terrible death, I know that the matter could have been much, much worse. Perhaps it’s only because I’m so recently displaced onto Grand Cayman from the peaceful Brac that Iwasn’t as emotionally prepared for a home invasion as I suppose I should have been.

In fact, I really thought I handled the matter quite well: cancelled my credit cards, alerted the UCCI authorities about the missing laptop, gave statements to the police, cleaned up the fingerprint dust after the CID team left, reassured all my friends from the Brac that I was just fine…

But then today (Monday) I had to return to the townhouse to retrieve a textbook that I had forgotten. Upon entering the dwelling, I saw that the curtains covering the sliding glass door to the back patio were open.

I had left them closed.

I stood there, wide-eyed and speechless. Yet I honestly felt as though I were screaming. Panic constricted my lungs, threatening to suffocate me.

I don’t think it took me long to remember that the realtor had called me earlier to let me know that prospective renters would be viewing the townhouse that morning. That realization allowed me to begin breathing and reclaim my senses.

But it’s now three hours later, and I still haven’t completely shaken the fear.

Other women have confided in me today that they too are living in fear, that burglaries and home invasions are much more frequent on Grand Cayman than the news media have indicated, and that petty crime is almost an expected fact of life in every district of the island. When the fingerprint detectives left my dwelling on Sunday morning, they were on their way to East End to investigate yet another burglary.

I left the United States to get away from that kind of madness. I have resided on Cayman Brac since 2004, repeatedly shocked by the crime reports from Grand Cayman, but oblivious to the creeping pervasiveness of wrongdoing on that island.

Just as the Agriculture Department has vigilantly worked to keep the Pink Mealybug from spreading from Grand Cayman to the Brac, I pray that the police and residents of Cayman Brac will work to keep this casual expectation of criminal activity from spreading to the Brac.

I’ve recently begun hearing about petty thefts beginning to emerge on the Brac and I caution all the residents of the Brac to please be aware that it’s a slippery slope. The small thefts may seem too insignificantto bother with today, but ANY casual attitude toward wrongdoing grows and festers with the passage of time.

Until one day, you awake to discover that your island paradise has been transformed from a safe haven into a battleground.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The problem is an inefective and corrupt police force. With rookie cops on the ground, and criminals protected by a family name I fear the only logical result is more crime. Until we get an accountable, effective and honest police force, I dont think there is much any of us can do aside from lock our doors and secure our belongings.


  2. Fear says:

    I was born and raised in Cayman. I was never afraid to walk at night (or the daylight for that matter), be alone at home, or go out with my friends and family.  Sadly, this has all changed.  I make sure that I am never alone, or at least if no one can be with me, that I am 100% aware of my surroundings. 

    It is very disturbing to know that the majority of the criminals committing these crimes are some of the very same peopl I grew up with or went to school with.  What happened to you all?

    Unfortunately, what I see happening in the very near future is residents fighting back.  Honestly, if nothing is being done to stop these crimes "legally", people are going to take matters into their hands and deal with the criminals in any way they see fit at the time. I personally am checking into several options of protecting myself and my family.

    Parents, if you really want to protect your criminal children, I suggest that you make them pay for the crime!  It’s obvious everyone knows who you are even without your child going to prison, so let them have it.  Better prison than having to visit their gravesite because their victim fought back!

  3. TP says:

    Time To Look In the Mirror

    The sad fact is that alot of the crime is carried out by home grown indigenous offspring of "well placed" Caymanians.

    I am aware of one particular drug fuelled son with a rather common caymanian surname with a particularly strong pedigree that is know by the Police and released by the Police on each and every burglary that he has committed. 

    Those living in South Sound will know who I mean and why he is always released.

    Trust me – there is a correlation between rising crime the repeated release (without charge) of perpetual burglars known to everyone, but protected by the dynasty of corruption that is rife in Caymanian society – especially when linked directly to those individuals in "high status" families.

    My comments are factually based upon a Caymanian family living in South Sound who have been reapetedly burgled and even supplied perfect CCTV evidence to the Police. Within a second, the offender was identified every time by the Police – but guess what – that certain surname and a prominent father is the get out of jail free card everytime.

    This is a luxury not afforded to Jamaicans – so it’s probably time to stop the Jamaican bashing and look a little at your true home grown scum that ruin peoples lives.

    There is filth and scum in every society, of every colour. It’s about time the Caymanians realise that despite their widespread belief of the God above, their sons and daughters are just the same as crack heads and criminals the world over – and the cover ups by indigenous Caymanians in high places makes these families no better than the scum they protect.

    Everyone knows the truth of Cayman, its not healthy in a democratic society to have so much "family" in places of authority. Corruption is rife from top to bottom. Never in my life have I ever known the phrase "its not what you know but who you know" to be so very true. Every single one of us can recite a specific case where a decision by a well placed Caymanian in authority can only be attributed to such a prevalence. What the Met Police enquiry didn’t count on was that the curruption they sought to uncover is a cancer through every living part of every government department and agency – where the hell could could a handful of outsiders even start?

     So when you look at your idyllic, god fearing island being ravaged by crime – take a look in the mirror to seek those ultimately responsible.


    • Anonymous says:

      Amen to that submission and what is even more horrific is the message passed on to the criminal offspring of the well to do family. That message being that you are above the law and are special and the rule of law does not apply to you. What a destructive message to pass on to a young person. What is in fact being done is to destroy that person’s moral compass.

      What is even more sad is that the well to do family are more concerned with their good name than the proper raising of their child, which is selfishness in the extreme; although I am sure they delude themselves that they are looking out for their child’s best interests.

      Consequences are part of teaching responsiblity.

    • Anonymous says:

      TP, I’m a Caymanian and a very patriotic one but I must applaud you for daring to speak out and disclose what you have done here.  It is I believe very true and it is about time that the police realise that none are above the law.

  4. Bob Daigle says:


    I am sorry to hear that you went through this experience.

    "I honestly felt as though I were screaming. Panic constricted my lungs, threatening to suffocate me".

    This feeling is what many women experience when confronted by an intruder. It is very scarry to even think for a moment that someone  has invaded your home.

    We are all happy to hear that you are ok!


  5. Anonymous says:

    I know the feeling.  I have been here for nearly five years and been a victim of crime on 4 separate occasions – 3 times theft and once vandalism of a vehicle.  I now have an alarm, security lights a dog and a real awareness of ensuring I take every precaution to prevent people stealing my belongings.  I’m afraid the Police really were no use on every occasion I had things stolen.  Once it was my daughter’s bike, stolen from my own doorstep – how do you explain that to a 6 year old?  We don’t keep patio furniture any more because the last lot got stolen within a week of us buying it.  This is a lovely place to live and to bring up a family but the crime is becoming a real issue and is making many residents think hard and long about whether they want to stay.  All the while the burglars are getting away with it – it will continue to happen.  They know the Police offer little response for these so-called petty incidents but the Police need to realise it destroys people’s lives and should make more of an effort.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I too have falled victim of robbery and have had my home broken into and numerous items stolen. An aspect of this trauma is the knowledge that the thief is living close by on the same island.

    We had another robbery attempt last fall and I immediately suspected it was the same thief coming back for a second helping of my life.

    It surprises me and disappoints me that there isn’t more of an outcry with the violence and thievery in the country.

    Anyone who has fallen victim to this knows and understands. Adding into the mix violence against women and it gets much scarier for sure.

  7. Mozzie Fodder says:

    I live in Snug Harbour and had a bike stolen from the screen porch overnight. Police didn’t even show up.

    I just wanted to know how they entered the property? I know we keep all our doors and windows locked at night now…..

  8. anonymous9 says:

    I’m sorry to say that break-ins are nothing new and not ‘on the rise’. I have lived here 17 years and have had 9 break-ins and attempts. If I lived in the US that number would be zero. The police knew got 3 of them were but my belongings were never recovered and I never knew what happened to the thieves. Released to thieve another day.

    • Anonymous says:

      I have lived in the same location for more than 17 years and have never had a single item of mine touched. My garage is always open with the doors up, and my wife constantly complains about me leaving the doors to the house unlocked but I refuse to change the way of life that I grew up with. There is no neighbourhood watch on my street, but I am friends with each and every one of my neighbours.

      The fence around my yard is only 2 feet high so it is very easy for a thief to jump over. I also have a very large dog that can jump the fence in the other direction if necessary. The dog remains in the yard because he has been trained to stay there and not because he is unable to leave.

      I’m sorry when I hear stories of people who have been violated by thieves, but each and every one of us will have to do our part to take this country back. In my case, I am very lucky to not have given up any part of mine.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I empathise with you, having been broken into twice now in Grand Cayman, the last time being April this year. What was worse was we knew who had robbed me (we being myself and my neighbours), but the police could not find any ‘hard evidence’ such as fingerprints. To add insult to injury the perpetrator had left behind a bicycle in front of my house (he obviously couldn’t carry my new TV’s (including the remotes!) and ride his bike at the same time), but no fingerprints were forthcoming there either. We knew who the person was because he had been seen several times in our road (it’s a dead end street), on a similar or the same bike, sometimes late at night and is a known drug addict who feeds his addiction by stealing and robbing. But of course none of these facts were enough for the police to arrest him, so he carries on. Apparently these burglars all wear gloves to stop fingerprints being left behind so the police officers inform me.

    Anyway, to deter burglars, make sure you have outside lights on at night, ($1600 later you can see my house from the moon). I would say a dog is a deterrant but my 3 dogs slept in my bedroom with me throughout the last robbery, oblivious. However I doubt that he(they) would have entered my bedroom to confront the dogs (I hope).

    I haven’t slept through the night yet as every liitle noise wakes me and has me padding through the house clutching my phone ready to dial 911 every other dark hour. It’s a shame to have to live like this, especially as the police are aware of the identity of many of these burglars but either cannot get the evidence or for some reason they are not dealt with harshly in the courts!  The person who robbed me and many others comes from a wealthy Caymanian family but for some reason the family have chosen not to intervene and have allowed him, for years, to rob people. If the police cannot do anything surely the parents could find some sort of intervention. They have the funds!

  10. Bodden says:

    JD. I’m so sorry that you’re new life in Grand Cayman has already been tainted by this scourge of crime that is becoming an everyday occurance there.  Between the frustration and fear, residents and visitors are scrambling to deal with this new culture of deviance.

    There are moments when I feel that this growing problem is unstoppable, and I want to give up, but I consider my children and family and know that being passive will not halt nor solve anything.

    Each small petty crime or infraction of the law is a building block in a greater criminal scheme and everyone is responsible for helping to solve the issue. That may be as simple as a no tolerance stance for unacceptable behaviour within your immediate circle or reporting lawless behaviour to the police. Whatever your contribution, be a part of the solution and not the problem.

    If we are silent now, we may be silenced forever.


    • Ellen says:

      Bodden. I agree "if we are silent now, we maybe silenced forever". Why are we the majority siting back and allowing the minority to bound us in fear??…we much become organize and fight back; community and police alike. If we don’t send a clear message that we will not sit back and be silent!!. then they, whoever they be, will continue to terrorize our communities.

      There are persons out there; familiy members,friends,who knows these persons who are committing these acts of crimes, and they too must be held accountable for not turning them in to the authorizes .

      I am ready to make a move, how about you.  No great battle has ever been won without some sacrifice….