NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Crime overall decreased by three percent for the five months of this year compared to the same period in 2019, according to statistics released by Minister of National Security Marvin Dames.
The statistics outlined during the budget debate, reflect murders dropped 11 percent, attempted murder declined 79 percent; armed robberies fell by 35 percent and robbery by 14 percent.
Additionally, rapes saw a 30 percent decline and unlawful sexual intercourse declined by 41 percent.
Overall, crimes against persons were down 31 percent.
Conversely, crimes against property increased by three precent compared to the same period last year.
Despite the overall increase, burglary and stealing dropped by three percent respectively, while housebreaking fell by nine percent.
Incidents of stolen vehicles also dropped marginally — by one percent.
To date, there have been 31 murders in The Bahamas, the majority of which took place on New Providence.
Of the 31 killings, 20 took place on New Providence, eight in Grand Bahama and three in the Family Islands.
“Irrespective of island, the murder count in The Bahamas continues its downward trend which means that our investments are paying dividends,” the minister said.
“The offence of murder, however, remains a vexing topic, particularly because many of our young men are dying at an alarming rate while still young.”
A breakdown of the murders this year by demographic, shows 26 or 84 percent were men, while five or 16 percent were women.
Dames also broke down these incidents by circumstance.
He said 32 percent of the murders so far this year were motivated by conflict and/or retaliation, while 19 percent were the result of drugs.
According to Dames, 20 of the murder victims or 65 percent were known to authorities.
Seven of them were on bail for various offences, including murder and two were being electronically monitored.
He did not expound on the circumstances of the victims who were killed while being electronically monitored.
Twenty-five of the victims met their demise as a result of being shot.
This represents 80.6 percent of the victims, Dames pointed out as he underscored firearms
remain “crucial enablers” of the high levels of violence in the country.
He said seizures of illegal weapons, particularly guns remain critical to the effort in reducing murders in The Bahamas.
To date, the police force has removed 102 illegal firearms and nearly 1,900 rounds of ammunition between January 1, 2020 and May 31, 2020.
The seizures included 73 pistols, 12 shotguns, 11 revolvers, and six rifles.
As it relates to drug seizures, which Dames said is also critical to reducing violent crimes, the police force during the first five months of the year removed 583 pounds of marijuana, 280 marijuana plants, 140 pounds of cocaine, and 147 amphetamine tablets.
From these seizures, 305 people were prosecuted and 413 people — 371 men and 40 women — were charged.
Officials have acknowledged the emergency orders implemented to curb cases of COVID-19, which included nightly and 24-hour curfews and weekend lockdowns, has had an impact on crime.
Officers continue to be deployed to key checkpoints throughout New Providence to ensure the nightly 9pm to 5am curfew.
The country’s borders were closed in late March, preventing visitors entering the country. The 24-hour curfew and weekend lockdowns were only recently lifted.
Dames also addressed violators of the curfew, advising Parliament 1,134 people were arrested and charged for violating the curfew between March 24 and May 31.
The majority of the violations took place on New Providence, Eleuthera, Grand Bahama and Exuma.