Cops offer gun amnesty
(CNS): Police will be holding a month long amnesty on firearms this July in an effort to repeat last year’s success. Detective Superintendent Marlon Bodden said that this time the amnesty would be promoted at a local level through a series of town hall meetings where police would discuss the issue of gun crime with residents in the community. He told CNS Wednesday morning that he believed the reason why there had been no murders in the Cayman Islands so far in 2011 was because of the successful amnesty last year in which some 23 firearms and ammunition were removed from the streets and he hoped to do the same during July’s no questions asked hand-in.
Acknowledging the increase in robberies involving firearms, in particular those where weapons have been fired recently, Bodden pointed out that while this was of significant concern, last year there were eight murders in Cayman and a similar number the year before. “This year we have had zero killings,” he added and said he truly believes that amnesties assist significantly in reducing the number of weapons on the street.
Last year the police focused on the warning that firearms related offences, even where no one is hurt, attract a minimum of ten years and asked people to give up weapons before they found themselves spending the next decade in Northward. This year, Bodden said, the police would be taking a different approach but would still be encouraging people to give up the guns while they had the chance.
The police ran the 2010 amnesty in May and June, and while gun crime continued throughout the month long reprieve, police still collected an impressive array of weaponry and ammunition. Bullets, cartridges, shotguns, rifles automatic weapons, hand-guns, homemade guns as well as adapted guns and even a crossbow were collected from the streets.
Speaking to Cayman 27 on Tuesday evening, Bodden said the police were still doing everything possible to get the guns out of the hands of the wrong people.
He disagreed that the police did not have a grip of the robbery situation but he said the RCIPS could only do its job if it was assisted by information from the public about where the guns are, as he said the police cannot fabricate evidence. He said that people were criticising the approach police were taking and suggesting they should be more aggressive.
“The RCIPS is aggressive,” he said, “but what individuals don’t understand about the RCIPS is that we are intelligently aggressive.”
Although the country’s murder rap sheet is empty, so far this year there have been an unprecedented amount of robberies, many of which have involved firearms. While in some cases the guns were imitation weapons, in the last few robberies the armed assailants have chosen to demonstrate that their weapons were real during the execution of the crime by firing their guns.
The police have made headway and made a number of arrests and brought charges in several of the robberies at gas stations and grocery stores but the three armed bank heists remain unsolved.
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