Friday, 1 June marks the start of the RCIPS month-long firearms amnesty.
During the amnesty, illegal firearms can be turned into police with no criminal repercussions.
This year’s firearm amnesty, the first since 2011, kicks off 1 June and runs from 7 AM to 10 PM daily for the entire month of June.
At Thursday’s media briefing, police cited the statistics, correlating the recovery of 29 illegal firearms in 2017 with a more than 30% decline in firearm incidents.
“We want to take guns off the streets,” said Deputy Commissioner Kurt Walton.
He told Cayman 27 that’s why police are giving the public one month to turn in any illegal firearms.
“We have had two murders since the beginning of the year where firearms were used, and that is a demonstration that fire arms are still out there on the streets,” said Mr. Walton.
“Since 2006, we have lost 35 young men to firearm crimes, in addition to that we now have 33 young men currently serving time at Northward prison, also in relation to firearms incidents. Both numbers are much too high,” said Superintendent Brad Ebanks.
Mr. Ebanks said despite the statistics – police say they’ve recovered an average of 18 firearms annually since 2015 – gun crime in Cayman is out of control.
“Crime by illegal firearms is something that this country, these islands, shouldn’t be experiencing at the level that we are, and we really have to do something to, to deal with it,” said Mr. Ebanks.
The RCIPS has offered gun amnesty three other times since the turn of the century. This year, it’s partnering with the minister’s association and crime stoppers to offer three ways to surrender a firearm.
“If somebody is in possession of a firearm, they can simply call the police station. Aan officer will come out and collect the fire arm from you, or you can drop it off at the nearest police station, you can surrender and fire arm to a local pastor. For this, a person can receive a certificate to a local business, or you can stay completely anonymous by calling crime stoppers,” said Mr. Ebanks.
Deputy Commissioner Walton said the choice is a no-brainer.
“You make a choice: between 7am and 10pm, to hand the gun in, or you go to jail for seven to ten years if found in possession,” he said. “It’s as simple as that. We can’t make it any more simple than that.”
Previous amnesties have yeilded mixed results.
In 2005’s amnesty, police said 20 guns were netted in total. 19 in Grand Cayman and one on Cayman Brac.
2010’s amnesty police recovered 26 weapons, including handguns, shotguns, a flare gun, a crossbow, an explosives detonator and a grenade as well as 233 rounds of ammo.
In 2011, police recovered one pistol, 825 rounds of ammo, three air guns, and 217 pellets.