(CMR) Thirty-five robberies and attempted robberies have been committed so far this year, a significant increase compared to 2020 and 2021. This increase has pushed the overall robbery figures up almost 200 percent. The police held a press conference on Thursday afternoon, providing the shocking details to Cayman's media.
In 2021 there were 19, which was a slight decrease from the 22 robberies from the previous year. However, for 2022 thus far, there has been a significant increase in armed robberies in particular, with 27 weapon-enabled robberies and attempted robberies committed year to date, a jump of almost 400 percent when compared to the past two years. The vast majority of the robberies committed this year were committed over the past four months.
The police revealed that 23 gun-related robberies were committed over the past few months, with the last one being in North Side, where gamblers were targeted. In 2020 and 2021, there were only 14 armed robberies for the two-year period, seven each year.
While many have expressed concerns that these robberies are being committed by foreigners who arrived in the Cayman Islands illegally to carry out criminal acts, the police said this is not the case.
Speaking at an RCIPS press conference on Thursday, Commissioner of Police Derek Byrne said that based on the police's information, the recent robberies are being committed by “local indigenous people.”
He said it is a small group committing these crimes, and the police intend to get them off the streets of the Cayman Islands. The Commissioner of Police (CoP) explained that the robbers are casing out locations to select the most opportune time. He was encouraging the general public to be vigilant by being aware of their surroundings.
The criminals have been targeting businesses with little or no customers to avoid dealing with members of the public. So far, all the locations that have been targeted did not have any security on-site, the police revealed.
Despite concerns about the increase in robberies, Commissioner Byrne reassured that Cayman is still a safe place to live and visit.
Meantime, as the Christmas Season is approaching, CoP Byrne is urging residents to protect their properties. He has also called on businesses to reduce the amount of cash they keep on their premises.
“Protect your properties, protect your homes. and for those persons involved in business, please please reduce the available cash in your premises through regular clearance of cash,” he said.
Businesses are also urged to keep proper lighting around their properties and to ensure their CCTV cameras are serviced.