Violence up but crime down

| 25/01/2009

(CNS): Police are facing mixed results regarding the annual year-end crime statistics as, despite the overall crime rate falling by 22%, murders and attempted murders have increased dramatically. With seven murders in 2008 compared to three in 2007 and 15 attempted murders last year compared to six in 2007 an increase of more than 133% for both crimes, the police said most of these crimes were connected to licensed premises and the drugs trade.

“We are very concerned about the level of murders and attempted murders,” said James Smith the acting Police Commissioner on Friday at a press briefing held to announce the figures. “We would like that not to have risen we would have liked that to have gone down.”

He said that the Royal Cayman Islands police Service, (RCIPS) was working very hard to solve the outstanding murders, continuing to take preventative measures and developing strategies to prevent them from occurring in the future. “I think it is fair to say that of the seven murders in 2008 and in the one very early this year, four of these have direct connections to bars and nightclubs and of the remainder there are likely to be significant links to drugs,” Smith added.

Smith said that the RCIPS was working closely with licensees and he said there was a willingness on the part of the liquor licensing board to help the police tackle the problem. Deputy Commissioner Anthony Ennis noted that the law regarding license premises was under review and the police have been asked to consult on it. He added that he was hoping to see more stringent rules put it place as he said the current situation where premises are placed on perpetual probation was not helping.

The issue of more crimes involving firearms was also said to be of concern and Smith revealed that another AK 47 had been found and seized on island last year though it had not been used. In total he said 26 firearms, ranging from handguns to imitation weapons along with various amounts of ammunition had been taken off the streets.

Smith said that there could never be any legitimate reason for anyone possessing an AK 47 but he also expressed his own concerns that there were too many firearms on island that were supposedly legally held and said he could not understand why people wanted to hold guns adding that he wanted to ensure all the weapons were safely held.

“Often the disastrous outcomes from firearms come from those that are legally held,” said Smith. “I need to be convinced that there is a strong reason for someone to hold a firearm.  It is a concern to me the number of licensed firearms holders on the island because for everyone that you have the opportunity for an unfortunate outcome increases. I have asked my firearms licensing department to conduct a full review of every licence held for that reason. I want to be convinced that they are legitimately held, properly stored and properly used.”

With drugs forming the back drop to many crimes Smith said the focuson developing the Marine Unit including the arrival of new boats would be of invaluable assistance to the service in fighting the crime associated with drugs which was also a border issue. Ennis said that during 2008, 4477 pounds of ganja, approximately 2.2 pounds of cocaine, 4.692 grams of ecstasy, 4.44 grams of hash oil, 2.325 pounds of magic mushrooms and 77 drug utensils were seized and 311 drug arrests were made. Smith admitted that the majority of those arrests were however for consumption and possession of small amounts rather than for intent to supply or importation offences. He did however note that just 72 hours into the New Year that four men had been arrested in connection with importation when 385 pounds of ganja and a boat was seized during a Marine Unit and Drugs Task Force operation.

As well as an increase in both murder and attempted murder, the incidents of rape also increased this year by more than 28.5% but domestic violence decreased by more than half. However, professionals often warn that statistics in these crimes can be exceptionally misleading as they can be adversely or positively affected by an increase or decrease in reporting s depending on the perceived climate within the community by victims of such crimes.

While Smith stated that the 22% decline in crime rate overall represented a figure of 700 less victims of crime he and Ennis both acknowledged that there was a very real and serious perception that crime was increasing and people were afraid.

“Crime generally is down but there is a fear of crime,” said Ennis who said there is a perception gap and the fear, he believed, owed much to the of nature some crimes last year including the gruesome murder of Estella Scott-Roberts as well as the number of robberies involving weapons.

He said crime could not be addressed by the police alone it was not just the responsibility of the service, or government but the community at large.


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  1. Anonymous says:

    Cayman islands nowadays is a burglers haven. We get to hear a house breakin horror story every other day. God save Cayman Islands people!

  2. Shaun Ebanks says:

    For the previous comment, why should I stick my head into¨a wasp nest that I haven´t created or been a part of constructing¨ ???? I and others told them it would be a negative outcome but they simply did not want to listen to us back then.

    As the old saying goes, ¨You make your bed, so sleep in it now¨.

    I do however have sincere sympathy and compassion for the remaining good officers who had no part in embracing the foreign policing practices that were flawed from the begining and have failed the Cayman Islands.

    As for coming back to the RCIPS, perhaps when competent officers with an unblemished record/character are given the opportunity to make sound judgements through common sense police practices, we might just reconsider. In the maintime, ¨Just suck it up old fellows/gals¨ !!!!!!!

    Oh and by the way, in possible reconsideration of returning, we would also need the large funding that we were many times denied, but later provided by the PPM government including the¨stealth helicopter¨ funding as well.


    Ps. Enjoying the cool breezes in large open cattle plains of Central America, care to join me ??????


    Shaun Ebanks.


  3. Shaun Ebanks says:

    The ¨Police High Command¨is absolutely out of touch with the realities of crimes in the Cayman Islands today and is attempting to put a ¨good spin¨ on a worrying situation.  

    What  Anthony Ennis (Deputy Commissioner of Police Operations) is failing to tell the public, is that although overall crime rates maybe down 22%, the criminals have now advanced themselves into capital crimes (Category A offences- as listed in the Criminal Procedure Code) such as Murder, Attempt Murders, Robberies, Grevious Bodily Harm, Firearms and certain types of Drug Trafficking.

    This is a very worrying situation, as we now have criminals who were once responsible for (Category B and C offences) such as Common Assault, Wounding, Theft, Buglaries etc. have moved unto more serious offences where it is no longer ¨Crimes Against Property¨ but ¨Crimes Against the Person¨. This is a BIG DIFFERENCE !!!!!

    You should not feel a sense of comfort that overall crimes are down by 22% but be more vigilant and concerned, that these criminals have now advanced themselves to targeting you the person and not soley your residences and other properties you own.

    Compounding this fact, is that so many of these serious crimes go undetected, making the criminals feel like they have become the ¨Teflon Dan´s of the Cayman Islands¨, a staus which they crave and seems to be achieving quite steadily.


    Shaun Ebanks.





    • Anonymous says:

      Shaun, if you know so damn much about policing and know that RCIPs is in so much trouble, why are you sitting in Honduras on your pig farm. Anyway be a man andstop using this forum to try and undermine Ennis…in case you haven’t notice he is the only Senior Officer who officers trust and rely in RCIPS. Why not blame Dixon after all he was the one that squashed your DTF base dream. Get a life and stop trying to keep a good man down.

      RCIPS is ding well under the circumstances and don’t need haters like yourself, if you have the organisation at heart come back and let Cayman see what you can do. Or better yet apply for the Commissioner’s job.


  4. The Watcher says:

    A few observation

    (1) Before we get too happy that overall crime APPEARS to be down lets ask an even more important question. What is the detection rate of the crimes reported.

    (2) Are these stats produced based on the number of INCIDENTS reported to the police or the number of OFFENCES which have been investigated. Bearng in mind that an incident is basically a telephone call or physical report to the police or 911 that an offence may or may not have been committed or is in the process of being committed. Also remember that a single incident unpon proper investigation can produce numerious offences.

    (3) Has anyone ever queried the difference between the number of incidents reported on a weekly basis as opposed to the number of crime committed for that week. If done I am sure that the results would raise an eyebrow or two.

    (4) When was the last time that a person was prosecuted for playing a major role in drug related offences. Not the Jamaican boat captain or boat crew brining the drug here, or the man on the beach collcting it.

    NO the real people behind it, the money people, the suppliers of major weight. The persons who are nvolved in sending the drugs from Cayman to the US & UK.

    When was the last time that RCIP successfully confiscated serious value assets from drug dealers and suppliers?? And I am not talking about a car or bike.

    Will watch and see how the year goes but I suspect more of the same.




  5. Anonymous says:

    What is the conviction rate for the 7 murders and the number of attempted murders in 2008?

    Less than 50% I would guess.