Downward murder trend eroding

Downward murder trend eroding
Minister of National Security Marvin Dames.

Murders down 10 percent as of August; murders were down 26 percent in March

NASSAU, BAHAMAS- While murders remain down compared to this time last year, that decrease is steadily being jeopardized by the recent spate of murders in the nation, margin of decrease has steadily narrowed, with this year’s murder count creeping closer to figures recorded last year — a trend which undermines the government’s objective to further decrease murders to fewer than 85 by 2021.

According to Eyewitness News Online’s records, there have been 55 murders for the year so far — a 10 percent decrease compared to 2018.

Up to this point last year, there were 61 murders.

A closer look at the murders recorded this year in comparison to last year reveals a trend of the decrease narrowing.

Murders for the first quarter of 2019 for example — January 1 through March 31 — were down 26 percent compared to the same period last year.

As of May, the decrease year-over-year was holding at 26 percent.

By June, however, which saw 10 people violently killed, murders were down 21 percent.

In June 2018, there were 14 murders the bloodiest month last year.

As of July 18, murders were only down 17 percent compared to last year.

The 10 percent murder decrease period-over-period at current, is a drop-off of 16 percent compared to the margin of decrease observed in the first four months of the year.

Between Sunday and Monday, there were three killings in The Bahamas.

There were six murders in all of August 2018.

In July, there were six murders, compared to the five murders in July 2018.

There has been a historic trend of violent crimes, including murders picking up in the latter months of the year, namely December.

When asked about crime trends Tuesday, Minister of National Security Marvin Dames insisted that while incidents of violent crime will continue to occur from time to time, he was confidence that the Royal Bahamas Police Force have a handle on crime.

“You can’t find any country that can boast about having a zero murder rate. And so, these are the challenges we will have to deal with from time to time.

“And we clearly understand that, but I have every confidence that the police are on top of things and clearly the numbers will reflect that.”

He has maintained, however, that there remains a long way to go.

In a separate interview Tuesday, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said notwithstanding the downward decrease, the levels of crime in The Bahamas remained “unacceptable”.

Among the three men killed over the holiday weekend, was the Cabrio Wells, the younger brother of Minister of Transport and Local Government Renward Wells.

The 90 murders recorded in 2018 was the lowest murder count in The Bahamas since 2009 when 85 murders were recorded.

There were 122 murders in 2017.

When the Free National Movement assumed office in May 2017, the party acknowledged that the Bahamian people wanted immediate action to reverse the trend of high murder counts.

To this end, an audit of law enforcement agencies was conducted, the police force was restructured and it adjusted its operational strategies under new leadership.

In June, Police Commissioner Anthony Ferguson said he was satisfied that the new strategies of the police force were yielding positive results.

The government has committed to addressing the root causes of crime, modernize law enforcement and improve the resources and equipment available to officers and the organization.

In March, the police force launched ShotSpotter technology, which allows gunshots to be detected and trace in real time.

While the technology has been celebrated by government officials as a new milestone, the public has not been provided data or metrics to measure its success.

There were 61 murders in 2006; 78 in 2007; 73 in 2008; 85 in 2009; 94 in 2010; 127 in 2011, a previous record.

In 2012, there were 11 murders; 119 in 2013; 122 in 2014; 146 in 2015, the highest on record.