By SANCHESKA BROWN
Tribune Staff Reporter
COMMISSIONER of Police Ellison Greenslade admitted yesterday that the rate of minor crimes continues to escalate despite a decrease in major crime across the Bahamas.
According to the latest statistics released by the Mr Greenslade, major crime in the Bahamas is down three per cent compared to the same period last year – January 1 to July 16.
In respect to crimes against person, murder decreased by 21 per cent from 73 to 58, attempted murder is down by 62 per cent, rape decreased by two per cent, armed robbery is down by three per cent and attempted armed robbery is down by 15 per cent.
Statistics also show decreases in burglary, housebreaking, stealing from a vehicle and stolen vehicles by six, 21, three and seven per cent respectively.
Despite the downward trend in major crimes, the commissioner said there is still a lot of work to do as it relates to minor crimes.
“Those numbers are very high and in many of those cases people are not arrested and when they are arrested in many cases witnesses withdraw.
“So you have your domestic disputes, loud noise reports, vagrants, littering, illegal dumping, assaults, causing harm of the simple variety, cases where I just hit you and its pain, causing harm to the extent that we cut a person or stab a person, or where flesh is cut and there is blood – all of those things we categorise as minor,” he said.
“You would be amazed at the amount of calls we get for assistance on a daily, weekly and yearly basis, those numbers are staggering. These quality of life offenses that people might refer to as minor crimes, those numbers are high.”
Mr Greenslade attributes the drop in major crimes however, to great police work as well as the deaths and arrests of many high profile criminals.
“We are making a dent in crime. Many of the persons that were creating havoc in this community are now dead.
“They murdered people within a short period of time, they were roaming the streets of New providence and they wind up dead. That has been playing out in this country for years, that is very unfortunate,” he said.
“Many of those persons that have committed crimes we arrested them and today as we speak they are in prison.
“I am very pleased, many of them have court dates and I am very, very pleased with what I now see happening.
“Our courts are active, our Attorneys Generals Office is active, there is a good relationship and now synergies across all the agencies, we are not perfect but yes we are talking more. That is why we are seeing some differences. Everything has been trending down for us.”
The commissioner also expressed frustration in having to arrest the same people over and over again, after they have been granted bail.
He recommended that the government begin an offender re-entry programme to decrease the risk of recidivism.
He said he public should be hearing more about this in the near future.