(CMR) The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) has reported that there was a reduction in major crimes in 2020; however, five months into 2021, the police say they have some concerns.
Commissioner of Police Derek Byrne pointed out that in 2020 there were 3604 recorded crimes (excluding COVID-19 crimes), a reduction of 12.8% when compared to 2019.
He said there were some concerns in the latter part of 2020 with bladed weapons which resulted in the launch of Operation Blade Runner. In 2020 overall levels of violent crime reduced by 12%. Crimes of serious violence reduced by 6%; however, there was an increase in the volume of these crimes involving bladed weapons.
“Going into 2021, we still have some concerns around the bladed weapons. We are not saying that crime has gone away. We still need to be very alert. None of us have become relaxed or complacent around crime… We do have concerns as we go into 2021. We are five months into it now and we are dealing with a lot of crime,” the Commissioner said.
He said there were concerns, particularly on the nightclub scene. According to the 2020 Police Statistical Report, approximately 60% of all blade enabled crimes in 2020 occurred within a residential address. 12% occurred at Licensed Premises( bars, nightclubs, restaurants, retail outlets with a license or car parks adjoined to these premises). In the second half of 2020, the majority of blade-enabled crimes involving serious violence took place at Licensed Premises, including 2 Murders and an Attempted Murder.
Also of concern for the police, Byrne said, was child protection and domestic violence.
The police also reported that there was a decrease in sexual offenses during 2020 when compared to 2019; however, rape increased by 4 (44%). However, the police pointed out that a number of the rape offenses reported in 2020 related to historical crimes, which took place before the start of the year. Therefore, although they appear in the crime statistics for 2020, there has not been an increase in actual rape offenses over the last 12 months.
The police also reported a decrease in burglary for the 6th consecutive year, with a 40% reduction in 2020.
Meantime, there has been an increase of 12 (7%) in the number of recorded Drugs crimes in 2020 compared to 2019. This is mainly due to the increases in the Consumption or Possession of Ganja. The police recovered more than 2250 kgs of Ganja and 62 kgs of Cocaine. These drugs had an estimated value of CI$ 5.5 million.
There was also a slight increase in firearm-related offenses. According to the police annual report, in 2020, there were 30 recorded crimes involving a firearm or ammunition with the illegal possession or use of the firearm itself the primary offense on 16 occasions. In the remaining 14 crimes, a firearm was involved in Attempted Murder(1), Robbery (7), Drugs offenses (2), Public Order (1), Rape (1), Aggravated Criminal Trespass(1), and Possession of an Offensive weapon (1).
In 2020, the police recovered seven firearms, and over 2000 rounds of ammunition were seized.