Dames: Overall crime down by 7%

Dames: Overall crime down by 7%

As of June 11, 37 murders recorded, reflecting a decrease of 21% when compared to the same period in 2018

NASSAU, BAHAMAS –  Minister of National Security, Marvin Dames, revealed on Tuesday that for the first quarter of 2019, overall crime was down by seven percent when compared to the same period in 2018.

“Crimes against persons are down by 16 percent as a number of prominent offenses trended downwards, including armed robbery by 20 percent, rape down by 29 percent, unlawful sexual intercourse down by 3 percent and robbery down by 9 percent,” said Dames, who was making his contribution to the 2019/2020 budget debate.

But that’s not all.

The national security minister said crimes against property are also down by 5 percent as a number of offenses have decreased, including housebreaking, which is down by 37 percent, shop breaking, down by 16 percent and stolen vehicles, down by 27 percent.

Dames said despite these significant double-digit decreases in key categories of crime, the one notable trend that has significantly impacted the overall crime figures was the offense of stealing. He said the police will therefore place a greater emphasis on this offense, mainly stealing from vehicles.

Yesterday, Dames also noted that for the first time last year, in nearly a decade, the murder count did not exceed 100.  He said thus far, for 2019, his ministry is seeing a continuation of this downward trend.

“As of June 11, 2019, there has been 37 murders, a decrease of 21 percent compared to the same period in 2018 when the number was 47 murders,” he said.

Dames said as the murder rate has decreased this year in comparison to the same time last year, so has detection rates.

According to Dames, as of yesterday, June 11, 24 or 65 percent of murders have been detected or solved, which he said means that persons are being charged.

He said these deceases can also be attributed to the deliberate changes in the way the Police Force is conducting its crime fighting strategy.

But last night, Dames cautioned that despite these decreases, the government is a long way from achieving its objective of having a crime-free Bahamas.

The national security minister said offenses of murder remain on the minds of many Bahamians and, unfortunately, misinformation on social media can often impact a person’s perception of murder trends in the Bahamas.

“The reality is that 17 of the current 37 murder victims were known to the police,” Dames said.

“Six of victims were on bail for various offenses, including murder and four of them were being electronically monitored for murder.

“In other words, in most of these instances the victim is known to its attacker. Nothing justifies a senseless killing, but we cannot turn a blind eye to these facts.

“This only reminds us that we have a vested interest in protecting and safeguarding our young men from the scourge of crime and violence.”

Hundreds in the system for murder

Also giving stats from the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services, Dames said 174 persons are currently serving time for murder, 212 persons are on remand awaiting trial and 121 are being electronically monitored for murder.

“This totals 507 persons who are in the system for murder. This means that 22 percent of the current inmate population of BDOCS are there for murder and also given our population this is one in every 800 persons.”

Dames said these numbers point to the fact that the challenges faced are not solely a police problem but evidence of the fact that the police are doing their job and doing it well.