Overall levels of crime stabilised in the Cayman Islands between 2018 and 2019.
The annual report by the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) shows that “in 2019 the overall levels of crime remained stable and controlled.” with total volumes of crime increasing by less than 1%.
The number of Murder, Rape, Robbery and Burglary crimes recorded in 2019 were at their lowest levels in the past 5 years.
There were substantial reductions in the crimes of Murder (-75%), Rape (-52%), Robbery (-37%) and Burglary (-34%) compared to the volumes recorded in 2018.
The annual report released by Police Commissioner Derek Byrne attributes this “marginal increase” as being “indicative of a growing willingness on behalf of victims to report and the commitment of the RCIPS to investigate crimes which in the past went unreported.”
However, despite the low overall year-on-year numbers, the statistics show a concerning rise in the rates of domestic violence.
“In 2019 there was a 28% increase in the number of domestic violence referrals and a 33% increase in child safeguarding referrals dealt with by RCIPS. This is in line with steady increases in recent years.
“In 2019 less than 3% of the most serious violent crimes involved an element of domestic violence, compared to 31% for 2018.”
The RCIPS says this indicates it is increasingly able to intervene earlier to assist victims before levels of violence escalate.
It also reports that over the period it “continued to invest significant resources into addressing crimes that impact the most vulnerable in our communities.”
Also showing a worrying increase was the level of sexual crimes which rose by 29% (showing 24 additional incidents) in 2019.
That was noted mainly in Indecent Assault on a Female, which has increased by 21 (84%) crimes in 2019 compared to 2018.
While overall sexual crimes increased, the RCIPS says there was “a substantial reduction” in the number of rapes. Eleven cases were recorded down by more than half at 52% of cases of rape in 2018.
It says “increased reporting and awareness of sexual crimes allows better understanding of sexual crimes. Therefore increased recording is a positive for RCIPS to allow improved prevent and deter opportunities as well as to catch and convict offenders and support victims.”
In 2019 the number of drug-related crimes reduced by 38. The reduction is mainly due to the decrease in Possession of Ganja crimes.
Throughout 2019 drugs were seized by RCIPS, including ganja with an estimated street value over CI$ 4.2 million and cocaine estimated street value over CI$ 28,000.
The RCIPS reports that in partnership with other law enforcement agencies at local and international levels it continued to target organised crime groups seeking to bring illegal commodities into the Cayman Islands.
In 2019, as a result of multiple investigations, RCIPS recovered 9 illegal firearms, a quantity of ammunition and drugs with an estimated street value of CI$4.2 million dollars.
Also, 4,102lbs of Ganja was seized at sea resulting from intelligence-led operations.
In 2019 the number of firearm crimes increased by 2. This includes the seizure of firearms from individual criminals and crime groups as part of law enforcement activity.
RCIPS said it recovered a total of 9 firearms – 5 revolvers, 2 pistols, 1 shotgun and 1 assault rifle.
(A firearms-enabled crime is any crime that has been committed where a firearm including an imitation has been discharged or seen/threatened). In 2019 there were 29 crimes believed to involve a firearm.
This includes crimes of Robbery (8), Threats to Kill (5), Aggravated Burglary (2), Attempt Murder (2) and Murder
The crime types which fall within this area of crime are Burglary, Criminal Trespass, Robbery and Theft.
Last year there was an overall reduction by 163 (or 12%) in the number of Acquisitive Crimes recorded. The reductions are mainly due to the decreases in Burglary.
There were 264 recorded Burglaries or attempts, compared to 400 for 2018. Put into context there were 4 burglary crimes per 1,000 population in 2019 compared to 6 per 1,000 population in 2018.
In 2019 there were 31 recorded Robberies or attempts, compared to 49 for 2018. This equates to a year on year reduction of -37% in the volumes of Robbery.
Public Order crimes have increased by 91 (12%) in 2019 compared to 2018, due mainly due to increases in Causing Fear or Provocation of Violence. Of the 878 Public Order crimes recorded in 2019, 309 (35%) were Domestic related and 93 (11%) occurred at a licensed premises.
Serious and Organised Crime
There were 80 proactive investigations carried out in 2019, the types of crime include importation of drugs and firearms, threats to the economic wellbeing of the island through illegal gambling and illegal immigration, those concerned in burglary and the commission of firearms enabled violent crimes.
The Financial Crimes Investigations Unit dealt with 111 disclosures from the Financial Reporting Authority. The Financial Crimes Investigations Unit(FCIU) also investigated 13 reports of counterfeit currency.
136 incident reports were logged compared to 118 in 2018 - an increase of 15%. Of the 136 incident reports, 28 were complex money laundering investigations.
Another division, the Cyber Crime Investigations Unit(CCIU) assisted in the forensic analysis of 28 attempted cyber-crimes and 20 committed cybercrimes or cyber-enabled crimes last year. It also supported 53 criminal investigations through the use of digital forensics.
Motor Vehicle Accident (MVAs)
In 2019 nine people died in motor vehicle accidents (MVA).
These fatalities were located on BT (4), GT (1), EE (1), WB (1) and CB (1).
21 persons were seriously injured and 438 persons slightly injured last year as a result of a MVA.
There were 88 MVA’s on Grand Cayman, and two on the Sister Islands, (1 on each), where the driver of vehicle was found to be driving under the influence of alcohol.
Overall for 2019 there were 2806 confirmed Motor Vehicle Accidents (MVA), compared to 2409 for 2018, an increase of 397 (16.4%).
Driving Under the Influence
272 summons were handed out for driving a motor vehicle under the influence (DUI) of alcohol, compared to 321 for 2018; that's 49 fewer in 2019, equating to a 15.3% reduction.
Approximately 24% of DUI’s in 2019 involved a suspect shown to be at least double the legal limit when breathalysed by officers.
There were 5 DUI crimes where the reading was greater than 300 mg of alcohol, over 3 times the legal limit. These were located in Bodden Town (2), West Bay (2) and George Town (1).
In 2019 7,850 traffic tickets were issued, compared to 7,525 in 2018.
3,094 tickets were for speeding compared to 2018 when 2,124 were issued - a year on year increase of 970 tickets, or 45.7%.
88 of the tickets were for speeds of 70 mph or greater. This includes two incidents on the Esterley Tibbetts Highway where speeds of 99 mph and 102 mph were recorded.
With 2020 already halfway through, the RCIPS will seek to build on the successes achieved in 2019.
It committed to “listening to our communities and continuing to ensure that the Cayman Islands remain a safe place to live, work, visit and conduct business."