Substance abuse at heart of crime challenge

| 15/06/2017 | 59 Comments
Cayman News Service

Deputy Police Commissioner Anthony Ennis

(CNS): Acting Police Commissioner Anthony Ennis has warned that until the country gets to grips with the mounting substance abuse problems in the community, crime will continue to increase. The police are reacting to the latest crime spike with an increase in visible patrols as well as focusing on the reported crimes; they have also been rounding up suspects and have filled HMP Northward to capacity. But drug and alcohol abuse and the subsequent recidivism of those suffering from addiction remains an ongoing challenge for the RCIPS.

Responding to enquiries about the recent crime spike, Ennis, who is heading the RCIPS while Commissioner Derek Byrne is overseas, urged the community to be more vigilant and pointed to car theft in particular because offenders are taking vehicles that have been left unlocked with keys in the ignition.

Highlighting ongoing concerns he has about the failure of society to deal with drug misuse, which is behind much of the opportunistic crime, he said, “Although we have made this point before, it bears repeating that central to much of the crime that we see as police officers is the persistent cycle of recidivism and substance abuse that many of those who often commit these crimes seem to be enmeshed in.”

He added, “Until we break this chronic cycle that has destroyed so many promising lives, the fact of substance abuse will continue to drive property crime in particular, and pose a serious risk to public safety and national security in general.”

Ennis said there was a need to tackle the drug and alcohol problems fueling crime “on all fronts” but pointed to some important arrests the police have made on the drug trafficking side, which has included recovering illegal guns.

“Recent arrests have demonstrated our resolve and commitment in this regard along with our other law enforcement partners, particularly the CI Customs Department, to tackle these serious crimes at all levels,” he said. “We are also working with the CI Immigration Department to ensure that undesirables and those involved in criminal activities do not have a safe sanctuary by residing in our islands.”

With several high-profile crime incidents this week, Ennis said it was understandable to see public concern but he wanted to reassure residents that the RCIPS is not “sitting idly by” as inquiries into the crimes are conducted.

“Residents will notice increased police visibility around the islands today, including some regular plain clothed police officers in uniform,” Ennis said in the statement released on Thursday. “There are other less visible policing activities taking place as well that we are unable to report on at this time, but we want to reassure the public that we will not allow criminals to roam free.  These activities may bring some unavoidable inconvenience to the public and we ask for the public’s patience.”

He said yesterday’s arrest in the wake of a robbery and car theft demonstrated that the police are responding with determination and resolve to bring to justice those who are disrupting the peace.

“Our determination, as well as that of our law enforcement partners, is reflected in the fact that HMP Northward is currently full. We will keep the public promptly updated about further developments in all incidents that occurred this week, and ask for its partnership in preventing and reducing crime in all its aspects,” he said

Speaking about the spike in car thefts, a very recent crime phenomenon for Cayman, Ennis said criminals use them to commit other crimes and he warned people to secure their vehicles and not keep valuable items in cars, especially unlocked ones.

Ennis also stressed the need for public support and assistance. “We ask that if members of the public see something that is unusual to report it to us,” he said.

There has also been a surge in break-ins at commercial premises and the Chamber of Commerce has raised further concerns about the impact on the business community.

See Business bear brunt of crime spike on CNS Business

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Category: Crime, Crime Prevention, Police

Comments (59)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Someone needs to ask if the crime problem is so bad, why are around 50 police officers on enforced leave to avoid paying overtime to placate the Ministry of Home Affairs, and why are the people left behind working all hours to cover. CNS, you need to look into that.

  2. Expat Andy says:

    Maybe better family planning would help. Real sex education in the schools and not just the birds and bees stuff. It is important to let people understand the financial and emotional impact of an unexpected pregnancy.

    Ideally every child would be raised in a loving home with two parents in a stable relationship. We know that is not going to happen all the time but if we can reduce the number of teen pregnancies it would help.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Shame that that means the persecution of those hat use their substances sensibly.

  4. Guy Ebanks says:

    Aint no blaming Baines this time Ennis… or ‘throw anyone else’ under the bus… This is happening on your watch… sort it out.. your words are shallow.. addiction? I don’t think so…

  5. Caymanian donkey says:

    Yes class A drugs are part of the problem, but with regards to some recent robberies these and other robberies arent been committed by mostly locals, we have had a few foreign people coming here, all planned previously doing these.
    Marl Road is the robberies over last week are a couple visitors from ??. There’s always some truth to the marl. Road.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Bring back the programs in our schools. All schools. Bring back the recycling programs as well. Intervene from early. Let these children see what time wasters (back then)look like in our society today. Give them the numbers showing how many people are dying in these streets, the numbers showing how many people are dependent on Government to live. Show them pictures. Take them to the morgue. Get real with them.

  7. Elvis says:

    It’s obvious programs and also the will to stop their offending behavior is not working I suggest building another wing at the prison and keep banging them away until they get the message, if you invest in a facility worthy of keeping these people then magistrates wouldn’t be restricted in sending people to jail and we would then be able to sleep safe and sound in our beds whilst the criminals can sleep together in one place,

    Investment please

    • Anonymous says:

      Too much A/C and being too relaxed. Pay more attention to your surroundings, noises and always be alert. You can’t get too comfortable, be prepared.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I expected more from Ennis than his regurgitating this rhetoric! Whilst addiction plays a part in the crime increase it is hardly the only reason.
    I very significant reason is the very inconsistent enforcement of any number of laws! And also the poor presentation of evidence in Court when they do prosecute.The Police are in no position to cast blame. They need to get their own house in order!
    People prone to breaking the law see that so many get away with it and so decide to take the gamble…especially if they have a record for say a ganja spliff and can’t get a job.

    • Anonymous says:

      Umm, if people weren’t breaking the laws, policing wouldn’t be an issue.

    • Anonymous says:

      Encourage the citizens to deal with a situation if they can. Why wait until the police arrives? The excuse that drugs is the problem doesn’t cut it. Strange, how in other countries many use it but many are not around to tell the tale.
      When will we hear the problem is going to be solved? Our people must talk and give information when and wherever possible.

    • Anonymous says:

      AS CRIME BECOME MORE, THE PUNISHMENT FOR CRIMINALS GETS LESS. Years ago they could be hanged, then that stopped and it was in jail for life with hard labour, then the hard labour was taken away, now its only 30 years for first degree murder. The criminals no longer pays for their crime, the Tax/duty payers pays $70.000 p a for them, so they can have easy life in prison. The criminals don’t mind going to Hotel Northward.

  9. Anonymous says:

    All this starts in the home. A home without a father or caring mother can increase the risk of substance abuse. Cayman needs to instill a sense of reasonability in parents and future parents. Make wayward fathers accountable to the law.

  10. Anonymous says:

    The solution to crime isn’t necessarily easy to put in place but much of it isn’t that hard to figure out. Firstly stop trying to place blame – “it’s the expats!”, “it’s the Jamaicans!”, “it’s the drug addicts!” – this is scapegoating, not a solution.

    Educate your people, and give them viable options, don’t just try to make them all lawyers and accountants. Teach that you are only entitled to what you earn for yourself. Use education and the law to enforce personal responsibility – no one should be able to evade their responsibilities to the children, their employees, their creditors just because they don’t feel like dealing with them. Keep social services for those who truly need it, not to finance able-bodied couch surfers. Enforce the laws. All of them, consistently. You may or may not agree with the “broken windows” theory but it’s only logical that after years of getting away with everything from speeding to selling pirate DVDs some will think nothing of taking it up a notch and helping themselves to someone else’s property. Is it an easy fix? No. It is necessary? Yes. Does Cayman have the will and leadership to make it happen? Not so sure. Certainly the effort has to go well beyond just the RCIPS, who are certainly not perfect but can only do so much to fix societal problems that have been decades in the making.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Substance abuse combined with a complete mistrust of RCIPS. Maybe Mr Ennis would be better employed addressing the issue of why nobody is coming forward to assist the police sort out these crimes than lecturing us on social problems. Nothing he’s said here is new and until he addresses the problems of lack of public confidence in the police things can only get worse.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah you got it…mostly crack heads and young pill users that come up in the unsupervised (by Police or Parents) neighbourHOODS, yo. Word to daddy mac!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Shifting the blame. Typical. One day they’ll realize that these people are just genuinely bad and that both they need a good @$$ing and their parents do as well for raising them to me such selfish, self-entitled pricks.

    And on a semi unrelated topic, I still have yet to understand this whole blaming 100% of crime in Cayman on Jamaicans and other foreign nationals because 90% of the names I see pop up in the news on cases like the ones recently are full bred Caymanians that were in school with me and the one time a Jamaican gets pulled up everyone loves to go HA! I told you!

    Seriously man…

    • Anonymous says:

      Last time anyone in media checked over 90% of the adults and pretty every one of the juvenile inmates at Northward were born and raised in these islands. They may ape Jamaican culture but the problems are homegrown.

    • Anonymous says:

      8:53am, if you want good information, check the courts list and you should be able to determine who is who from the names and surnames. It is very interesting information.

      • Anonymous says:

        wow, you must be a national treasure being able to determine who people are and where they come from purely based on their names.

        cayman was known as a mixing pot well before we started allowing mass numbers of foreign nationals to our soil.

        mixin pot = mixing with other nationalities = still our own home grown problems for the most part

  13. Anonymous says:

    Rehabilitation of addiction should have nothing to do with law enforcement. It should fall under healthcare. Until we treat it as such, the cycle will never be broken.

  14. Anonymous says:

    drug use is the only cause of crime?? ?? what about the high cost of living!?!?! that helps as well. imagine if you could not buy a tin of milk for your 2 yr old???

    • Anonymous says:

      Real world issues. They are all asleep, comfortably too.

    • Anonymous says:

      You think these people are robbing to feed their kids? SURE…. keep your head in the sand.

    • seya says:

      8:29 if you cant buy milk then don’t have a 2 yr old or any other old’s

      • Anonymous says:

        Wish that was the case the truth is many young woman have 3 kids by the time the are in their early 20’s with 3 different baby daddies. If only they knew condoms are way cheaper than having a kid.

        • Anonymous says:

          Sorry but didn’t you know? Contraception is against the Christian religion (sic).Go forth and multiply

    • Anonymous says:

      My father worked 3 jobs to buy a tin of milk when times were hard but keep telling yourself it is the high cost of living or the expat taking all the jobs. Keep making excuses for the entitled home grown punks.

    • Anonymous says:

      You shouldn’t have a child if you are not.capable of taking care of it Children don’t ask to be here, that is a conscious decision.

  15. Shrink Cartel says:

    Not just the illegal substances either. The local drug pushing psychiatrists (thy know who they are)must be held accountable as well.

  16. Anonymous says:

    So the problem isn’t people from Jamaica?

    • yah says:

      7:21 there are always a problem no matter where they go! its just in there DNA cant help it.

    • Anonymous says:

      No just the guns and drugs,that’s because we are so close to Jamaica,imagine if we were close to America then we’d be in a world of problems like getting shot at your child’s baseball game,or at a fast food outlet.

      • Anonymous says:

        Don’t forget at your children’s schools.the airport.etc.etc.etc.damn uncle Sam is a real bastard

  17. anon says:

    A big contribution to this ongoing crime spree is the fact that many people who were off crack for awhile, have suddenly come into money during recent election, thank to the money flowing from certain politicians and their donors. And money is a trigger which resulted in a lot of the recidivism. But now that the election campaign is over and that source of easy money has dried up, but the addiction is still there with our poor addicts, easy money has to come from somewhere to feed the habits. This occurs after every election that millions of dollars are spent on politicians.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I couldn’t have put this statement from Dep. Comm. Ennis better myself. I just hope the entire law abiding citizens of the Cayman Islands will 100% agree, and be proactive in supporting the RCIPS in combatting the increasingly serious crimes that are currently being committed.
    Some of you may think these are just “words” you have heard over and over again, but I can assure you, the Commissioner and his officers have a huge challenge in front of them to put these perpetrators behind bars.
    He was absolutely right in saying that alcohol and drug abuse plays a large part in these crimes. Unfortunately, this is a major issue worldwide and not exclusive to the Cayman Islands. One can only raise our children from the cradle to know right from wrong and direct them in the right path. It’s a tough task these days with the pressures our children are subjected to in schools from a very young age with the “wrong doers” and we know that everyone wants to be liked with their friends and to “fit in.”
    I resided in Cayman many years ago when it was one of the safest islands in the world. Sadly, this is no more and unfortunately, probably will never be again. However, we all need to be proactive in gaining a much more safer environment to bring our children into. It’s of no use being reactive when the damage has been done. We need to nip it in the bud before it starts. Our children are the future of the islands people, let us not see them deteriorate before our eyes. A few hundred Police officers are not able to do this alone. RCIPS need YOUR cooperation too. Some of you may think I am pro Police, and yes, I guess I am because I’ve done that job and know first hand how difficult it sometimes can be to maintain law and order. I, and am sure all the law abiding citizens of these islands, want a safe environment to live in once again. If any resident here feel that they can actively improve the current crime situation I’m sure Dep.Comm., Ennis will be more than eager to hear your views.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Lack of policing and lack of convictions are also major contributors! The criminals have zero fear of being caught!! Sort it out Ennis!

  20. Anonymous says:

    Or drugs could be legalized and taxed and a side benefit would be a significant drop in crime while taking huge cash flows away from criminals.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Well, if we continue choosing to consume drugs, alcohol, nicotine, junk food, etc then we should expect consequences.

    By bad personal choices, we can destroy the quality and length of our lives.

    True change begins in our own hearts and is contagious. No one wants to purposely destroy themselves.

  22. Way says:


    Close down bars, ban all alcohol or liquor being sold. And if you can’t do that, then raise the cost duty of alcohol so high its hard to buy…

    Sorry Police, but youre not going to get rid of alcohol abuse when anyone can walk intl a store and buy liquor! You can educate as long as you like, but so long it is available crime will increase.

    • Anonymous says:

      Muppet…doing that just increases the black market in such things and will make more people criminals…education is the only way.

    • Caymanian donkey says:

      Donkey, this isn’t the problem, it the use of class A drugs, take a look in recent news what drugs are now o the island.

    • Anonymous says:

      Can the commenters tell where the drugs are coming from? Ganga, hard drugs and other substances are not being produced or grown on the islands.

  23. . says:

    Until Cayman leadership in the political, economical, adminstrative, and social institutions recognize and acknowlege that Cayman has and continue to fail a high percentage of its people through weak and non existent human resources development institutions. This creates an environment of hopelessness, rejection, low self esteem and poverty. And research has proven without a shadow of a doubt the strong correlation between the above enviorment and alcohol, substance abuse and all forms of criminality and social deviant behavior. Cayman has to address itself from the family, Community, and nationally through the medium of education by building and creating more human resources development insitutions and educational facilities Who makes up the highest percentage of prisoners at Northward which presently is full. Caymanians! Who doing most the robbing, stealing and killing. The young Caymanian Male.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Did they find all the drugs that was stolen from their very own compound? If not, this is just more lip-service, and no action.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Those who abuse substances are mainly involved in petty crimes: thefts, burglaries etc. Gang violence however is different: armed robberies, turf wars, reprisal killings etc. Addicts just want to get high while gangsters terrorize communities. The APC should check the facts.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with poster 9:42 p.m. These armed robberies seem to be well organized and planned out. This would not seem to be people who are drug-addicted as they would probably mess up somehow and leave “tracks”. But they seem to be quite clear-headed in carrying out their swift strikes. I think possession of guns gives them great confidence. So where are the guns coming from?

  26. Anonymous says:

    The most problematic of these substances is unclaimed and irresponsible ejaculate.

  27. Grim Reaper says:

    Do you really want to crack down on drugs? Make drug dealing punishable by death…… and then carry it out.

  28. Anonymous says:

    School Holidays coming
    Usual increase in domestic burglaries

  29. Anonymous says:

    It all makes sense…we need better addiction treatment, and education/prevention programs aimed at the young. Perhaps some ex-cons who have managed to go straight but had issues could assist?


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