2017 Study: 42% of murder suspects active in gangs

Victims active or involved as well

 

A 2017 study on solving the crime problem in The Bahamas, has found that 42 per cent of murder suspects are active gang members or are in some way involved in gang activity.

The study entitled Solutions to the Murder Problem also found that 31 per cent of murder victims were also either active in gangs are involved in gang activity in some way.

The statistics were revealed during a meeting of the Rotary Club of East Nassau recently, at which Minister of National Security Marvin Dames addressed the issue of conflict resolution.

“Much of the violence and crime that we are seeing is motivated by individuals and their inability to resolve conflicts peacefully and with civility,” Dames said.

“If we are going to restore law and order and build public safety within our society, we must bring focus to the causal factors which contribute to crime and violent behavior. At the core of the matter, we must first address how we deal with daily conflicts on our streets, in our homes, at our schools and in our social environments,” he said.

The national security minister said past statistics show homicide victims are predominantly males, and, in fact, over the past five years, males had accounted for a disproportionate number of homicide victims.

Further, he said, gang violence mainly perpetrated by males, presents several challenges for law enforcement and public safety,” he said.

“The [2017] study also suggests that gangs are often formed due to system failures or community dysfunctions and that many of the revenge and/or retaliation murders are by-products of ongoing feuds among gang rivals.”

Minister Dames said that an examination of the motives behind murders in 2017 suggested that perpetrators were gang members, and that violence existed in their homes.

He added that the study found that, of those charged with murder, 97 per cent were male; 82 per cent ranged in ages from 18-35 years of age; 58 per cent had prior criminal records; and 42 per cent were involved in gangs.

Earlier studies, he said, also revealed that 71 per cent of murder suspects were unemployed.

“These statistics, particularly the loss of human life suggests that peace and conflict resolution are real challenges facing our country today,” he said, while readily acknowledge that there is no ‘quick-fix’ to the complex issue of crime.

“It would be naive to assume that this very complex predicament of criminality can be rectified overnight.”

Since coming to office, the minister said, the government has been resolute in developing a strategic approach to aggressively addressing the underlying issues of crime that included lack of education, poverty, poor parenting skills, poor communication and poor reasoning – all in a concerted effort to restore peace on our streets, in our homes, at our schools, and in our social environments.