NASSAU, BAHAMAS — While there were fewer than 100 murders in The Bahamas for the second year in a row in 2019, Minister of National Security Marvin Dames said yesterday “there is much work ahead” to ensure the downward trend in murders and other serious categories of crime continues.
There were 95 murders in 2019, a just over five percent increase in the 91 murders recorded in 2018.
The count in 2018 represented a 25 decrease in murders over the 122 recorded in 2017.
The tally last year is the third lowest count in murders in nearly a decade.
While addressing the various divisions of the Royal Bahamas Police Force at the organization’s annual church service at Holy Family Roman Catholic Church, Dames “unprecedented challenges”, namely Hurricane Dorian, which devastated the northwest islands of Abaco and grand Bahama in September, challenged the police force and its fight against crime.
As a result of the record storm, officers had to be deployed to the impact islands to shore up security and assist in the immediate search and rescue effort, and sustained recovery effort.
Notwithstanding the challenges, the minister said the men and women of the armed forces kept the murder count under 100.
However, Dames said: “No, we are not saying that you have arrived.
“Yes, there is much work ahead. But after having endured a period like 2019, it is not lost on us that the men and women in uniform performed well, all considering.
“You deserve our commendation and adulation.
“This kind of selfless service is exactly the type of devotion to duty that is required of you throughout your entire law enforcement careers.”
Murders for the first quarter of the 2019 were down 26 percent compared to the same period in 2018.
At the six month mark; however, the margin of decrease period over period was 14 percent.
By August, murders were inly down 10 percent.
Near the end of September, murders have increase 10 percent compared to the same time in 2018.
At the time, Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson attributed the increase to several recent double murders, some of which authorities believe to be gang retaliation.
The Bahamas observed more than 100 murders in 2011 with 127 murders, a record at the time.
In 2012 there were 111 murders; 119 in 2013; 122 in 2014; 146 in 2015, the highest on record in the country’s recorded history; and 111 in 2016.
In 2006, there were 61 murders; 78 in 2007; 73 in 2008; 85 in 2009 and 94 in 2010.
Yesterday, Dames said the government continues to live up to its commitment and has supported its anti-crime policy framework with substantial investments ranging from human capital to resources, and technology.
Since the 2018 manpower audit, an additional 271 police officer have been recruited.
According to Dames, Cabinet has approved an additional 135 police recruits — 100 set to be deployed in New Providence and 35 in Grand Bahama.
Dames also recognized the men and women of the National Neighborhood Watch Council, noting there are 90 nationally recognized groups in New Providence and 16 in Grand Bahama, all of which have worked hard to strengthen their relationship with the police, and helped to reduce criminal activity within their respective communities.