Cops challenged by robbers

| 01/02/2011

(CNS): The surge in armed robberies is the biggest current challenge to law enforcement, the police commissioner has said in the wake of the publication of the latest crime statistics. During 2010 there were 64 robberies, representing an increase of over 39% on the previous year, which was already considered high. There were also another 11 attempted robberies, more than double the amount made in 2009. David Baines said the robberies were being committed by a variety of offenders from desperate drug users taking wild risks to properly organised bank robbers, making it difficult to solve the crimes. Even in the face of a $50k reward, the police received no calls or information from the public in connection with that particular bank robbery.

Although the RCIPS has been able to claim success in 2010 in stemming the unprecedented surge of gang related shootings and murders, at the beginning of 2010 the robberies are placing new pressures on the service as it struggles to get a handle on what has become a more than weekly event.

With five robberies occurring in the first month of 2011, the average trend of more than one armed robbery occurring in Grand Cayman each week appears to be continuing. Despite the efforts of the police, who have managed to charge ten offenders for 13 crimes, more than 50 remain unresolved, leaving a significant number of armed and violent robbers still targeting fast food venues, liquor stores, gas stations, shops and banks.

“It’s clear that stemming the current tide of robberies does present a significant challenge. We cannot be on every street corner and we cannot predict with accuracy when and where the next offence will take place unless we get intelligence – and therein lays the greatest challenge,” Baines said at a briefing last week, where he revealed the latest crime statistics (see below).

Following the failure of a $50,000 reward to bring in any information at all on a bank robbery, he also noted that while the police had made a number of arrests in the bank cases, without evidence they were not able to bring charges.

“The reality is that we must provide sufficient evidence to support a charge and this is often a tall order for want of identification, witnesses and ‘no comment’ interviews,” Baines said.

The service is taking steps to make sure staff are sufficiently trained to maximise opportunities brought about by arrest, Baines said, and more officers are also being trained to retrieve CCTV evidence in an effort to fast track evidential opportunities, which is increasingly becoming critical in securing charges.

“You’ll be aware that the majority of our robberies last year were characterised by a threat of violence or actual violence that was wholly disproportionate to the spoils. It seems that many offenders were prepared to use firearms, an offence carrying at least a ten year prison sentence, for a few hundred dollars. Such desperate acts are often symptomatic of illicit drug users and we will be focusing proactively on the local trade that continues to flourish,” he added.

However, the commissioner stated that there was a diverse range of people committing robberies, from the highly organised three bank robberies, where the offenders left no forensic evidence, wore masks and knew exactly how to stage the hold-ups, to these random high risk hold-ups of pizza joints for a few dollars, where the offenders could be drug addicts or gang initiates.

“We also suspect that on some occasions ‘insider information’ may play a part and I encourage business owners to know their staff and vet them thoroughly. Staff also need be disciplined to understand that careless talk can render your business vulnerable,” he warned as he pointed out that some employers were not taking the necessary precautions with their staff.

“We issued advice last year to the Chamber of Commerce regarding handling cash in transit. I would hope that this was taken on board but we have still seen instances where vulnerable people have been used to transfer cash and continue to be targeted. If businesses have slack security procedures, you can guarantee that the criminal element won’t be slow in picking that up,” Baines added.

He stated that significant resources were being devoted to investigative and tackle this crime trend, and explained that police were analysing information such as the locations, victims, offenders and then deploying resources appropriately. Experienced police officers and other specialists in various police disciplines have also been enlisted to support the already overstressed resources, and all opportunities to “get in the face of known offenders” were being taken, the senior cop revealed.

“The active targeting of prolific offenders involves confronting and stop-searching suspects when seen on the streets and other tactics,” Baines said, as he added those could not all be revealed for operational purposes. 

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I would like to say that the majority of prison inmates are Caymanians!!!!! What I don’t understand is that you all like to blame these crimes on the statuses that were given out in 2003, being so deceive that these crimes are taken place by Caymanians. I am not saying that other nationalities are not involved, but I believe we need to stop casting stones! This country will never get better because the Caymanians are always in war, when it’s not with their own, it’s with other nationalities. Wake up people!

    In regards of the RCIPS, I blame Baines for killing the black and housing the white. Every three months these black officers have to deal with change in schedule, meaning longer hours and no day off(they still have to be working when they are trying to recover from the grave yard shift) etc. when the white officers work 9-5 shifts. People casting stones when don’t make things better. Put yourself into these officers position or marry an officer so you will understand what is happening with them. Besides that STOP THE IGNORANCE!

  2. Anonymous says:

    The police need to get out of their cars and helicopters and start patrolling  on foot.

    Crime at this level, and in such a small community, is beyond ridiculous. It is completely indefensible and unacceptable.

    Patrolling on foot would engage the constables with the people, from which they would learn about the criminals in their communities, and possibly who has acquired weapons..

    Once again, the police would become friends of the people, as they were in prior decades on these Islands.

    About the only time people come in contact with the police now is when they are caught  in radar traps while driving safely on roads with miss marked speed limits, such as South Sound road, and the road East of BoddenTown.


    • Anonymous says:

      “The police need to get out of their cars and helicopters and start patrolling on foot”

      I’ve got an even better idea – what about bicycle patrols? Before you give “thumbs down”, let me say that this idea has worked very well in some U.S. cities, even Las Vegas, which has a very hot climate. It has all the advantages of getting the officers out of their cars and allowing them to engage the public as well as giving them increased speed and mobility. They could ride in pairs on heavy duty mountain bikes to give them access to off road situations and carry walkie-talkies to request back up from patrol cars or the helicopter if necessary. Also, by obeying traffic laws and wearing proper protective helmets and reflective colours, they could work to set a good example for other bike riders.

  3. Anonymous says:

    BRING BACK DEREK HAINES!!! He will sort those drug addicts / robbers out……………..

  4. Anonymous says:

    When you look at the Stats it is more then challanged that the Police are – this is not a challange, they are not even in the race. I equate this to sending a Handicapped person to run in the Olympics and I do not mean any dis-respect the the handicapped. This guy is keeps coming back with more exuses, reasons of why things are the way they are, and wants………with no real results to make him crediable or most of his charge. It is time for a new era in Police work in these Islands, not a blast from the past, nor what we have today. Things were not so great 10 years ago, Buel went off to retire once he took the Capt. chair, Thursfield jumped out of the fire and took a job as head of the FC unit after he left for a while and Haines was in the era of where all of this real violence started – while he may have been better then what is there, he could not stop this problem from its infancy and now we have a 1000 pound Gorillia running loose because in part of the lack of Enforcement in years past. Customs has a hand too in this as they are the front line protection agency for our borders, but Kernhoen took thier stones away and Baines still has them in his pocket playing with the power he has. The Island has waited and watched Baines take us from the toilet to the septic tank that is seeping out and his exuse is people are going deficate so get use to it and all we can hope is that they wipe.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Since Mr. Baines announced that the cause of the crime in Cayman is a direct result of the US constitution and RAP music, I guess he’s really facing an uphill battle. I can assure you the US isn’t about to drop their 2nd Amendment and I don’t foresee rap going away anytime soon.

  6. Anonymous says:

    “unless we get intelligence” he says.

    Here is some advice to you. Stop waiting for the public to come forward as eye-witnesses. Because the decent members of society will not come forward because they fear for their lives and the “not so decent members” are either involved in the act or more loyal to the individuals/culprits whom commit these crimes (simply because they are the ones supporting their lifestyle).

    Government, what are you doing to change the publics perception? The road-side clean-up is not enough!

  7. Thankful Again says:


    Yeah well Cayman Islands Challenged by the RCIPS!!!…lack of results and stories to tell for it.

    Obviously the very successful police tactic of Stake outs – even for extended periods are too North American for this Police Comm. Oh but he good at deflecting responsibility back to the public…yup don’t expect us to solve crime on our own…..a crying shame.

    Meanwhile Caymanians are getting fed-up slowly but surely and I am praying everyday that our release is not an Eygptian response. I know people are going to go crazy with their responses to that comment; but let me tell you something our hearts are starting to yearn for the Cayman of yesteryear – it’s real and even our young people know on some levels what it was like…and I reason that we can’t as a people take too much more of the whipping.

    Mr. Baines while obviously an intelligent man, refuses to come off of this down-talk, pompous approach and style that is so ingrained and arguable innate his background. So we have the theory coming out which at times seems so far away a reality from what the people are witnessing and experiencing everyday with our Police Force. Where are the results of those surveys?! I bet they scare the Police and hopefully Police Comm. to the reality of the people’s perceptions of the force. Please start listening one lil bit sir to what people are suggesting.

    Finally, am told the cliques in the force is at an all-time high: Jamaican officers together; Brits together etc. I suspect this cant be good for the force and really bad for CI. The possibility for collusion and other lil devious things in our community beomes huge….not to mention the lack of passion to solve crimes….no connection ya see. In fact, we get to keep our jobs. Now unna don’t messwith me now…because that is my opinion…got it!

    Suggestion: Come off your lil high horse. We got to be worth one lil bit more than: rap music and drug addicts….something not adding up in my lil small brain….sorry now….hate to disappoint ya ole boy.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I’d say Commissioner Baines and his UK crew has had more than enough time to prove themselves.

    Deputy Commissioner Rudolph Dixon is  still not convicted of any wrongdoing, still not working and his future in limbo.

    Have you noticed after they destroyed their reputation of this top cop and our other Caymanian Cops CRIME  has ESCALATED!

    Caymanian cops know where to find these criminals not the foreign UK vacationers who came here to enjoy the beach, the sun and the fun, don’t forget the good Mon!

    MR. Ezzard Miller you need to start an inquiry into the RCIP as your duty to your fellow citizen Rudolph Dixon and Burman Scott and others who were mistreated and unfairly treated. It is very abusive and disrespective to Caymanians to see our top cops treated in this manner. It is only to make room for more UK Cops who can not solve anything. Crime is now OUT OF CONTROL! 

    Do we have to tolerate another year of this?

    I’m going to count the days we have to wait before our highly paid legislators DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with you 101%!!! Come on, Ezzard, we’re waiting to hear from you on this one!

  9. Anonymous says:


     Are you kidding me? Are you going to continue to play with these punks or fix their business once and for all?  Comissioner Baines don’t you realize that if these criminals and robbers guntoating around the country are real Caymanians, we should send them away to a tough JAMAICA PRISON a real prison not a hotel suite as is Northward Prison!.

    If these criminals and robbers guntoating around the country selling drugs to our kids are  CAYMANIANS WITH STATUS   then its time for CHERI BODDEN COWAN, & WADE DACOSTA AND THE CAYMAN IMMIGRATION BOARD TO ‘REVOKE’ their Cayman status /citizenship and all residency then DEPORT THEM BACK TO WHERE THEY CAME FROM. These sleeper criminals should not be our problem.  DEPORT THEM BACK TO THEIR HOMELAND. Send these bad boys back to their mama. This is what other countries are doing. they are pruning the bad tree to make their country better. time to get rid of these determined not to change.

    What happened to the plan to keep these  troublemakers :

    in school

    on a job (even if its farming or cleaning the streets)

    or at home sensored.



    • Concerned Caymanian says:

      The problem is that if these criminals got their status in the 2003 give-away, they cannot be deported back to wherever, as it was “status by right”.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I thought the UDP said Crime was down?

  11. Anonymous says:

    Did I read this correctly, and please do correct me if I am wrong.

    64 robberies
    11 attempted robberies
    Total of 75
    Unresolved: 50!

    Seriously! This is so pitiful. a 17% resolution rate. And I am not assuming that those “resolved” may or may not have been convicted.

    It is time Cayman to ask your police force for CAYMANIAN police. The UK style of “policing” is not working, does not work and has not worked for any former or current BOT.

    I, as an expat, want to see your country’s law enforcement taken up by your own people. That is exactly the way it should be in all countries, those that care the most will do the most. If you have a stake in the game you will take it seriously, otherwise, well it is just fun in the fun for a while.

    It is also hard to beleive that NO forensic evidence was left. These criminals aren’t that smart. Oh, and for all the CCTV wanted, don’t think that is going to help if you can’t solve crimes against businesses who possilby have the best CCTV systems, which is the banks.

    • Knal Domp says:

       Um, total robbery = 75. Unresolved = 50. Therefore, resolved = 25 = 33.34% resolution rate.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think that it’s worth noting that more crimes have been resolved than people have been arrested. In other words, the people arrested have been charged with more than one crime. They have probably been responsible for numerous crimes, but it has not been possible to prove beyond all reasonable doubt their association. Thsi is why year-on-year figures are important – if a small group of people are responsible for commiting most of the crime, then taking them off the streets will give a reduction when compared across a number of years.

      The problem is that Cayman is a very small population, and to expect to find people of the calibre required to be attorneys general, Premiers, heads ofcivil service, Chief of Police, solicitors, financiers or whatever is very difficult when the pool is so small. How many American cities have a chief of police who was born and raised in that city? Not that many, so why should we expect it to be possible here. I want the best people possible to provide our services and if that means they are expats, so what? Now if Baines can’t make a difference then we should get rid of him, but I don’t think you’re going to know how effective he has been until we’ve had three years under his leadership – like it or not ANyone taking on the mess that was here will need 12 months to find their feet and develop plans, 12 months to put those plans into effect and overcome opposition from some members of the force who will not like what’s happening, and twelve months to reap the benefits of the system. If the 2011 figures are not beginning to fall, we have a problem – but can a CoP put right our social wrongs? If we replace every CoP who deosn’t make a difference within 6 months of getting here, no one will ever succeed, regardless of whether or not they’re Caymanian.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes, you make some good points. However, I do think you are incorrect in stating that mostAmerican cities don’t havelocals at their top. I disagree for two reasons. This is incorrect because although the size might be similiar, you are talking about a whole NATION, not a city. There isn’t an army or the like, the RCIPS is it. So a different calling in my opinion.

        Second, and my more important point is that the UK style of policing (notice they never state law enforcement) has not and does not work in the Caribbean. How many times does history have to repeat itself before someone says, “You know what, this didn’t’ work in Jamacia, Trinidad, British Virgin Islands, etc, and it isn’t working here.

        As I continue to state, a Caymanian police force is the most likely for success. However, considering the thumbs down I get when I say this, it seems likely that either Caymanians don’t beleive that or this forum is read by a majority of British expats who don’t want to let the ego go. Regardless, we have yet to hear the truth which is:

        * Cayman is 15th in world for robberies (1.16 per 1,000 people which is actually ahead of Jamaica)

        * #7 in the world for murders (.1272 per 1,000 people)

        * Compared to the US, the UK, let’s just look at stats, 5 more crimes per 1000 people: Notice who has the higher overall crime rate.

        Those are facts, no opinions or conjecture.