Robbers and thieves push up 2023 crime rate by 3.9%

| 25/04/2024 | 30 Comments
RCIPS press conference on Wednesday. (L-R) Chief Superintendent Brad Ebanks, Police Commissioner Kurt Walton and Detective Superintendent Peter Lansdown

(CNS): Overall crime increased in 2023 by 3.9% when compared to the previous year, largely as a result of acquisitive crimes such as theft, burglary and robbery, the RCIPS confirmed Wednesday after releasing the crime and traffic statistics for last year. While serious violent crime fell slightly, gun crime remains a significant problem. In a year where the police saw a 7% increase in calls for service, they recorded 3,995 actual crimes in total, including a 20% increase in property crime, a 16% increase in robbery, and a 7% increase in burglary.

Despite an additional 150 crimes in 2023 over 2022, the total number of crimes is still down compared to the 4,124 crimes recorded in 2019, the last year before the pandemic. That year, the estimated population was just under 70,000 people, which increased to around 85,000 by the end of 2023, according to the Economics and Statistics Office.

As the annual crime statistics were revealed at a press conference, Police Commissioner Kurt Walton said that no commissioner wants to see overall crime increase, and it was up to him to delve into and understand the reasons in order to divert resources. “We need to look at how we can bring down acquisitive crime, as thefts are huge,” he added.

The police have pointed to the recidivism levels of the people committing this type of crime, noting that many of them are homeless, drug dependent or have mental health problems, and some are prolific offenders.

However, noting that the RCIPS made 2,177 arrests last year, solved all four of the murders that happened within the twelve-month period, and seized 23 guns off the streets as well as over $900,000 worth of drugs, Walton said the police are committed to working with their partner agencies to continue the fight against crime.

“We are never happy about rising or even stable crime,” the commissioner said. However, despite specific issues like theft, in particular car break-ins, and real concern about the number of guns on the streets, putting it into perspective given the evolving crime landscape and the increase in the population, criminality overall “is not out of hand”, he said.

The statistics show that there were 1,469 acquisitive crimes (thefts, burglaries, break-ins and robberies) in 2023 compared to 1,222 in 2022. The main increases are related to theft, specifically vehicle-related theft, which is the steepest increase in all crimes at 51%. These are the crimes committed by prolific offenders who have substance abuse, mental health issues or financial difficulties, including homelessness, which impacts their behaviour on release from prison.

Detective Superintendent Pete Lansdown, who is head of crime detection, explained that the RCIPS has to prioritise resources, which means focusing on the most serious of crimes, and the whole of the RCIPS has been focusing on the more serious crimes such as armed robberies and gun-related crimes in general. But he said it was also focused now on the increase in this acquisitive crime. He explained that in many cases, these crimes are committed by the same offender.

While police often suspect people of committing far more crimes than can be proved on the evidence, Lansdown explained that when a suspected prolific offender is charged with one or two commercial burglaries and taken off the streets, they are placed on remand. At this point, this type of crime can stop as suddenly as it started, only to start up again when the suspect gets bail.

The police dealt with 37,866 calls for service, including traffic collisions, but actual crimes made up only around 10.4% of the callouts. Waltons said that 13,721 calls for service were in connection with a security alarm being triggered, a civil dispute, or other issues, such as people in distress, which were not criminal incidents.

However, it is impossible for the RCIPS to measure how much responding to all burglar alarms or neighbour disputes prevents crime from happening. Walton pointed out that while well over 90% of alarm calls are false, on occasion, a burglary is in progress — a crime that would be missed if they stopped responding to alarm calls.

Given the changing crime landscape, Walton once again spoke about the need to grow the size of the RCIPS. He pointed out that in 2008, at the time of the financial crash, the RCIPS had 370 sworn officers. Today, 16 years later, even after the creation of numerous new units, from the police helicopter to the forensic and ballistics hub, Walton said he currently has 380 sworn officers, an increase in just ten.

“The organisation needs to grow as it has to be future-proofed,” Walton said, adding that police are dealing with new threats and new types of crime, which has seen resources juggled around to meet new emerging crimes and spikes in particular types of crime, such as robbery or, as is the case now, opportunistic theft and break-ins.

See the full 2023 crime statistics report and the performance tables in the CNS Library.

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Category: Crime, Police

Comments (30)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    There are other areas in the world where crime is out of control.
    They all seem to be the victims of an utterly corrupt political class.

  2. Anonymous says:

    anyone checking all the people living off empty lots on “fishing boats”? first off it’s illegal and second off, you get it.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Jamaicans here dont police other Jamaicans the same as they do with other nationalities. Jamaicans here are running major criminal activities and they are not targeted, but somehow they can always track down a Caymanian involved in a drunken night club bar, usually a bar that no decent citizens frequent. Why is our entire police force made up of 3rd world cops. its madness!

  4. Anonymous says:

    At least crime has increased slower than inflation!

    Seriously,RCIPS, get a grip on the roads and establish an attitude that you actually control them. Catch speeders, but do it at night, too, and use speed traps in different places. It’s too easy to cruise past a unit by the side of the road near Barcam Esso, then see everyone drop a cog and speed off once they’re a hundred meters away. Pull over imbeciles in work trucks who cannot do a simple thing like tie a red ribbon on overhanging loads. Pull over dump trucks with no plates. Ticket the idiots with lights that are frickin BLUE at least. Cars with one or two brake lights out? pull them over and ticket them before they cause a crash.

    Do the above and I guarantee you’ll legitimately find lots of follow-on issues. No licenses, no insurance, drugs, weapons, stolen goods, overstayers. Or don’t, I don’t really care any more.

    • Anonymous says:

      Pull over everyone not wearing a seatbelt, using their phone and not indicating. Enforce all traffic laws.

      • Anonymous says:

        Great ideas, but there’s no will for it to happen.

        It’s laughable that they have a target of zero deaths on the roads, when around half of drivers will be ejected through the windscreen should they be in any collision greater than a fender bender. Idiotic doesn’t begin to describe it.

  5. Junior says:

    They have to catch and release as the condemned prison is almost full and no one cares

  6. Anonymous says:

    Stop allowing police bail. Require cash bonds. Get the repeat offenders off the street.

    • Anonymous says:

      And confiscate ALL travel documents, multi passports.

    • Anonymous says:

      Nowhere to put those still with time left to serve! Gotta make room in the prison built in 1986

      • Anonymous says:

        Build them a warehouse.

        • Anonymous says:

          Being uncomfortable in prison is a consequence which may actually dissuade criminals.
          Knowing you’re going to burn your fingers , and it will really hurt, is the best reason I know for not touching a red hot stove top.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I bet 90 percent are repeat offenders who have been given multiple short or suspended sentences in the past. Longer sentences are needed or pretty soon you will start seeing victims or robbers getting seriously hurt or worse.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Better policing not more, semi literate police officers is required.

    • Anonymous says:

      ARE required…!

    • Anonymous says:

      Get rid of all these Jamaican police who do not want to do anything to their fellow Jamaicans due to the fact that when they go back to Jamaica they will be beaten up or killed.

  9. Anonymous says:

    To all those who would point the finger at the RCIPS, remember it is not their job to prevent crime.

    Crime is a systemic issue that social policy is meant to deter. If the circumstances that make crime an attractive option never materialise, then we will see significant reductions in crime.

    • Anonymous says:

      In this country, crime is driven by systemic immorality

    • Anonymous says:

      “Remember it is not their job to prevent crime” is what criminals say.

      It’s literally their job to prevent crime, to protect and serve the public with visible enforcement as deterrence. Their duties include interdiction of drugs and firearms as well. Sometimes this happens, but most of the time, nothing.

      • Anonymous says:

        Building a new $200million prison surely will not be a deterrent.
        If Northward needs upgrading, use a few of the millions the consultant wants to charge, to have others from overseas to do the job.

      • Anonymous says:

        You only call the police after a crime has been committed. It’s the job of social institutions to prevent crime.

        Needed to restate since you seem to struggle with reading comprehension.

  10. Anonymous says:

    From the prospering criminal perspective, the RCIPS are an enabling partner via chronic management failure. They are not expected to be deployed in the community, in any meaningful deterrence number, with eyes open, and/or stopping anyone if they are – other than for a very narrow seasonal window on a selection of traffic interests as PR stunt. It doesn’t matter what the population numbers are when there is no collective expectation of any officers to be delivering any material deterrence to confront antisocial and opportunistic behaviour. Lo and behold, as it turns out, many of their officer recruits are seasoned criminals themselves. It’s up to the Governor’s office to change and demand new staff screening and performance criteria. The answer might be for lower officer headcount, but higher salaries for those both competent and honest, that can demonstrate sustained performance deliverables. We can’t accept any more of this smoke of excuses being blown.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Whose mission objective is it for crime to remain stable?!? Who exactly do the police officers pledge their oathes to these days? The RCIPS must consider the public and stakeholder (and criminal) confidence sentiment number, which plumbs new lows. It should be the only number on their collective dashboard. No crime or criminal is deterred from press conferences from the police clubhouse. Public disappointment statements are deeply offensive in the context of a paid 8 to 9 digit annual enforcement budget. Cayman’s home equity values are dropping versus regional peers because of a maligned tradition of getting comfortable with stable crime – it costs everybody, including those already paying handsomely for the opposite. It makes it harder to recruit and retain talent. It makes it less likely to be seen as somewhere safe to invest or retire. Officers must get out there, demonstrate their understanding to uphold the land’s Gazetted laws, and serve and protect via visible deterrence. That is the only way to convince everyone that the coddled, crime-friendly RCIPS mindset has flipped against a long period of criminal expansion.

  12. Anonymous says:

    if you dont think massive immigration unchecked attributes to higher crime rates just look at the numbers. The police actually have no clue who is behind the various crime waves crashing into the Cayman society. The entire underbelly of Grand Cayman has changed and until root causes are addressed this lot on their own are incompetent to get it under control. No one expects zero crime but we dont expect rampant crime either.

    Signed: Big silent

  13. Anonymous says:

    this is just the crime REPORTED. The true numbers are MUCH HIGHER

  14. Anonymous says:

    Anecdotally it appears shootings and stabbings are up too!

  15. Anonymous says:

    Many more unreported crimes, as we have no trust in Police to even show up, and follow up..even when they have fingerprints, witnesses and other evidence.
    Confidence to report is gone

  16. Anonymous says:

    Good going Caymans.
    Let them get residency now in topnof the cheap wages, and keep breeding off the silly local girls.
    Soon you will be as many people as Mumbay or like Port Royal here.
    The Brac is almost gone already!

    • Anonymous says:

      We not gone, fool. We are resisting the tide, just like you. You might have given up, but we have not.

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