Burglaries fell to historic low in 2018

| 01/05/2019 | 39 Comments
Cayman News Service

Police Commissioner Derek Byrne

(CNS): The number of reported burglaries in the Cayman Islands fell dramatically last year compared to 2017, according to comprehensive statistics released by the police Wednesday. The annual crime figures show that burglary was down across the board by 36.5% in 2018, from 510 the previous year to an 18-year low of 324. While crime in general, particularly serious crime, is on the decline, the drop in burglaries has been particularly gratifying for the RCIPS because this serious type of crime has the greatest number of victims in Cayman and causes the most public concern.

The welcome decline is significant as it is the first serious fall for many years, but whether it represents a trend in the right direction remains to be seen. Police believe that a combination of factors, not least the targeting and apprehension of repeat offenders who are now locked up, has paid off. Forty people were charged and ended up in court for burglary offences during 2018.

Speaking at a press briefing at the release of the crimes statistics report, Police Commissioner Derek Byrne said that the RCIPS had focused heavily on the crime and the offenders, but he accepted there was still work to be done to bring the crime levels down even more.

Nevertheless, he said that the Cayman Islands remained a relatively safe place to live, work and visit, with serious crime still uncommon.

Burglary has been a problem in all districts, both for home and business owners. However, in 2018 the numbers of residential break-ins decreased by 36% and commercial break-ins by 31%. Burglary fell across all districts over last year but in Bodden Town it dropped by 57%.

“Detectives credit part of the substantial decrease in burglary during 2018 to the imprisonment for all or part of the year of several known recidivist offenders with a record of committing multiple burglaries,” the police said in the report.

“While some of these offenders may have been arrested and charged in relation to one burglary only, they were strongly suspected of others. In the wake of their arrest and remand, the incidence of burglaries in certain neighbourhoods ceased altogether.”

The RCIPS said that community efforts in neighbourhoods have also played a significant role in the drop in the incidence of burglaries, as had the launch of the Community Policing Department.

“Over the past year these new community police officers have worked closely with residents on their beats to initiate neighbourhood watches and community WhatsApp groups, through which neighbours can instantly communicate, share information and alert neighbours to suspicious activity,” the report stated.

There are now 31 active neighbourhood watches across Cayman, which police believe have had a significant impact on reducing crime.

But despite all the good news, given the size of the islands, the encouraging drop in burglaries still leaves a relatively high number for a population of just 60,000 residents and police remain concerned it could easily spike again.

“For those victims of the 324 burglaries that did take place, the statistical fact of a burglary drop across the islands is cold comfort,” the police said, and warned the fall could be short-lived as offenders are released and paroled on an ongoing basis.

“If a decrease in burglaries is to be sustainable, enforcement and community prevention efforts cannot lose momentum, and must be reinforced by strengthened home and personal security measures by residences, as well as wider efforts to address the social issues and drug abuse that often drive burglary recidivism and are outside the scope of policing alone,” the police added.

In addition to the drop in burglaries, attempted burglary fell by 22% and criminal trespass fell by more than 25%. The number of burglaries in 2018 is the lowest in eighteen years, since 2000.

In general, the report shows that all crime was down slightly in 2018 compared with the previous twelve months. Serious crimes fell by about 10% and all crime was down around 4%. But murder increased from two in 2017 to four last year, though none of the killings were gang-related.

Serious crime makes up over a third of all crimes, and in 2018 the decline in burglaries was offset by an increase in robberies, particularly the more opportunistic street muggings rather than armed stick-ups at commercial premises.

Police seized fewer guns last year than in 2017, when 29 firearms were taken off the streets in various investigations. In 2018 nine were recovered by police, two of which were recovered in marine drug interdictions.

But the police also held a firearms amnesty last year in which 18 different types of guns, including seven handguns and almost 900 rounds of ammunition, were handed in no questions asked.

The police also made a lot of arrests relating to drugs. They seized 2,489lbs of ganja, most of which was recovered during six major marine drug busts, resulting in a massive increase in the seizure of around 1,635lbs in 2017, representing a 52% increase.

The police said this was largely due to the streamlined and coordinated efforts with Customs and Border Control and diligent investigative efforts. However, well under two kilos of cocaine and just half a kilo of ecstasy were recovered, despite an increase of 71% in arrests for possession of cocaine.

While most of the crime statistics reflect an improving situation when it comes to crime. with most figures heading in the right direction, the police revealed a very different picture on the roads. A stark increase in traffic enforcement by officers has led to some startling increases in traffic offences.

Related story: Crashes drop but tickets soar for rogue drivers

See the full crime report and statistics in the CNS Library

Check back for more stories and analysis about the report and how the RCIPS is now approaching the fight against crime.

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Category: Crime, Police

Comments (39)

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  1. Bertie : B says:

    To take reports , cops must have the ability to write !

    • Anonymous says:

      And with the greatest respect to his Irish accent, for the sake of decorum he should take care to correctly pronounce the word “THIRD” with a “TH” sound.

  2. Anonymous says:

    So amm, how ya say the flight to Jamaica was in the helicopter? Smooth ride a wha?

  3. Anonymous says:

    So burglaries are down to 324, realistically with 50% only being reported, it would be 648.
    Last year’s figures would have been over 1000.
    Coming from a small community of 56, 00 (minus those under the age of criminal responsibility and professional high earners) ….
    That’s pretty high even by South African standards.
    I am glad you don’t have a murder rate to match.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Maybe its the iguana cull thats keeping the burglars busy lol

  5. Anonymous says:

    Great job COP Byrne, you are putting resources where they are needed and achieves measurable results. Don’t listen to the haters, they just love moaning

    • Anonymous says:

      But that is a nonsense statement. Taking credit for the decrease in burglaries is not a measurable parameter. Policing may be one of them, but not all of them.

      • Anonymous says:

        Moan moan moan, get a life

        • Anonymous says:

          I have one thanks. One that lives in the real world. One that has experienced burglary and one that submitted camera evidence of the break in showing the perp, only for the police to call three months later to ask if I had another copy because they lost the original.

    • Anonymous says:

      Take your time CNS negative posters and read this careful analysis of your comments

      Crime goes up blame the government

      Crime goes down credit CCTV cameras and iguanas

      Government in debt blame the politicians and civil service

      Government archives huge budget surplus

      Credit anyone or anything besides politicians or civil servants

      Tourism down blame the Government

      Huge improvement in tourism numbers credit weather and US economy

      Civil service accounts not in order blame the civil service

      Civil accounts all unqualified credit anyone or anyone besides the civil service

      Now I know it hard for you negative readers to comprehend this analysis. But try!!

      Get a life!!

      • Anonymous says:

        The treatment of the Beach Bag Thief/Overstayer emphasizes the fauct that they are a Farce. Stealing from tourists is serious, and must be dealt with robustly. They were effective in catching home (although should have when he was just an overstayer), but instead of pursuing serious charges they give the guy a free ride home and actually celebrate their accomplishment? They police supervised and condoned downward spiral continues.

        CNS: The job of any police force is to gather evidence, catch criminal and make arrests. It is the job of the prosecution service to decide whether or not to lay charges and take the case to trial.

        • Anonymous says:

          Thank you for pointing that out CNS. Then the prosecution service is a farce and the police an improving but impotent puppet.

          Together it seems they help make effective law enforcement an illusion. No doubt able to blame each other for what continues to happen with no one taking responsibility, and no one held responsible.

      • Anonymous says:

        Except it is not an analysis, just your viewpoint.

    • Anonymous says:

      4.42pm. I know you joking! Right.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Hogwash, most people don’t report burglaries because they’re tired of being treated like criminals by the police.

  7. Anonymous says:

    reporting anything to the police farce is a waste of time.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Castro says
    The police are doing there job but they are not the cause of the low stats. But i can tell you all what contributed to the drop in burglaries in one word.
    IGUANAS
    lets wait and c what happens when the little green and orange buggers run low cause they will never run out.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like having an Irish cop in charge is making a difference. It’s clear that locking up the repeat offenders makes a big difference. The Cayman prosecutors and judges need to get serious about the career criminals.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Wow! Looks like everyone here has lost faith in reporting crime. It’s the same old story, burglary – report – no follow up call from any detective – you call – no record of incident. Shameful! RCIPS, are you reading this?

  11. tagcayman says:

    I wonder how much of this is due to people no longer reporting it? After the first time I reported my car being broken into, I decided to never report it again. It was a waste of my 2 hours waiting for the police. So when my garage was broken into, I didnt report that either, again, why waste my time?
    However, when my house was literally being broken into a couple of weeks ago, the police were called as the people were trying to get in and it took them 30 minutes to get there and I am almost certain no report was filed.
    Numbers drop when there are no reports.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you called 911, it’s logged. Everything they take a call for is time logged and sent on to the appropriate service.

      It’s quite likely the police had other incidents to deal with, and like triage, your incident may have been pushed back. If you get no satisfaction with the response, complain.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Let’s just get this straight. The correct wording is the number of ‘reported’ burglaries.

    That means these figures do not include incidents were people can’t be bothered to waste time calling RCIPS, cases reported to RCIPS where officers decided not to take any action over the report or instances (I’ve heard of two) where the intruder has been caught by occupants of the property and dealt with the old-fashioned way.

    This is how recording crime works in the UK – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-27226110 – and where my home is over there you apparently now have great difficulty reporting a whole range of what the police regard as ‘minor’ crimes including burglary and criminal damage.

    As for the figures? 324 reported burglaries in a population of about 60,000 would be regarded as a crime wave where I come from.

    What I’d be more interested in is the clear up rate. How many burglary reports remained unsolved? Despite the criticism above my local force in the UK recently rounded up a gang of nine locals who had been responsible for almost 100 burglaries in the previous year. Where I’d lived previously they arrested two teenagers after a spate of thefts and the burglary rate in the area dropped to zero – those are what I call good results.

    • Anonymous says:

      7:28 Simple fact of life – taking aside any issues with the figures the majority of the reported burglaries are almost certainly being committed by the same small group of thieves. A friend of mine has been broken into five times by the same man. The police know who it is but have done nothing because they ‘can’t’ find any evidence. He’s given up with the police now.

    • Anonymous says:

      Last year reporting no different than the year before or the year before that. The statistics are attacked every year.

  13. Ron Ebanks says:

    Sounds like he is thinking by the end of the year, you Wil be able to leave your wallet/purse on the beach and go swimming , and sleep with your windows open again like in the old days . I have two big beaches I am selling too .

  14. Anonymous says:

    The police have conveniently left out that there has been a massive increase of home owner installed cameras that help to deter burglaries and aid in prosecution.

  15. Anonymous says:

    BS…we just stopped reporting them to the police. The last time I was burgled they pried my garage door open with a bar and when the officer came and told me it was my fault because I didn’t lock the bedroom doors inside my house. I will never call them again.

  16. Anonymous says:

    No one reports burglaries anymore since the cops never solve or even follow up after. Must be why the stats are lower.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I’m sorry but I don’t believe this. I was burgled twice, each time an officer came out but I was never contacted about signing my official statement, and when I followed up, the police had no record of the incident. No wonder the official figures are falling.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Which bubble is this man living in ? Could it be that people are not bothering to report burglaries and serious crimes?

  19. Anonymous says:

    World Class performance! Thank you RCIPS Kudos to CNS for a positive headline.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Just think how the number of burglaries would drop if the Prosecution Service bothered to actually prosecute the repeat offenders that the police arrest and charge. The number of burglaries would fall even further if we got rid of the ridiculous system that puts convicted criminals back on our streets after they serve only a small fraction of their ridiculously short sentences.

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