By DANA SMITH
Tribune Staff Reporter
NATIONAL Security Minister Bernard Nottage called for the closure of the country’s cash for gold stores, as well as a ban on copper exports, in light of statistics showing that more than half of all armed robberies are involving jewellery or copper.
Speaking in the House of Assembly yesterday, Dr Nottage revealed the latest crime statistics for the year to date showed a 14 per cent decrease in murder compared to last year, but increases in sex crimes.
Figures show decreases in attempted murder and manslaughter, but reported incidents of rape, attempted rape, and unlawful sexual intercourse have all increased – with attempted rape rising by 1,200 per cent.
Incidents of armed robbery and attempted robbery have also risen.
“There’s a lot of crime associated with gold - with people snatching people’s gold chains, with people breaking into homes and taking their jewellery and stealing,” Dr Nottage said.
“I was driving down Gibbs corner one morning and there was a man walking with his chain on, the man looked like he was in his 60s, taking his time; and all of a sudden a young man from between one of the houses, (stole his chain) and ran off.
“When these cash for gold stores were licensed, I think there were certain requirements they were required to meet when they exchanged money for gold. My information is they are not living up to those responsibilities when they exchange money for gold.
“The person who is selling you something ought to prove they are the owners of it – bring receipts to show they paid for it before you can do a legitimate business exchange with them, (but) that is not happening. I want to close these cash for gold stores down. I want to close these cash for gold stores down and I want the agreement of the Opposition.”
Dr Nottage also revealed that “hundreds of thousands” of dollars in copper are also being stolen and then exported from the country, for profit. He called for the support of the Opposition in bringing about a ban on those copper exports.
Crime statistics provided by the minister show that there were 506 reported incidents of armed robbery with 299 of those robberies involving copper or jewellery – 59 per cent.
Of 157 reported robberies, 41 per cent or 64 of those robberies involved copper or jewellery. For burglary, 32 of 103 – 31 per cent; housebreaking, 338 of 1,028 - 33 per cent; shopbreaking, 93 of 400 - 23 per cent; and stealing from vehicles, 293 of 1,016 reported incidents - 29 per cent.
The total number of reported incidents of property stolen involving copper or jewellery is 1,119 of 3,210 - 35 per cent - for the year to date.
Figures for last year, 2012, also show more than half of all reported armed robberies involved copper or jewellery.
Of the 1,106 incidents reported last year, 596 of those incidents involved copper or jewellery - 54 per cent.
Of 367 reported robberies, 47 per cent or 174 of those robberies involved copper or jewellery. For burglary, 84 of 310 - 27 per cent; housebreaking, 1,044 of 2,891 - 36 per cent; shopbreaking, 180 of 976 or 18 per cent; and stealing from vehicles, 639 of 2,299 - 28 per cent.
The total number of reported incidents of property stolen involving copper or jewellery is 2,717 of 7,949 – 34 per cent – for the year, 2012.
Dr Nottage also tabled in the House of Assembly, the country’s reported crimes for the year to date; the figures include reported incidents from January 1 to June 11, 2013.
The country’s murder count stands at 55, so far, compared to last year’s figure, for the same time period, of 64; a decrease of 14 per cent.
Attempted murder stands at five compared to last year’s 11 – a 55 per cent decrease; and manslaughter stands at 0 compared to 1.
Armed robbery is up 4 per cent, standing at 506 compared to 487; robbery is down 5 per cent, standing at 157 compared to 165; but attempted robbery is up 33 per cent, standing at 12 compared to 9.
Attempted rape is up 1200 per cent, standing at 13 reported instances compared to last year’s 1; reported incidents of rape stand at 46 compared to 45, last year - a 2 per cent increase; and unlawful sexual intercourse stands at 80 compared to last year’s 74 - an 8 per cent increase.
In total, crimes against person have increased by 2 per cent - with 874 reported incidents since January 1, compared to 857 reported incidents for the same time period, last year.
Crimes against property have decreased by 13 per cent with 3,829 reported incidents so far this year compared to 4,381 reported incidents for the same time period, last year.
Burglary is down 15 per cent with 103 incidents compared to last year’s 121; housebreaking is down 24 per cent, with 1,028 incidents compared to 1,354, last year.
Shopbreaking is up 6 per cent with 400 reported incidents compared to 378 incidents, last year. Stealing is down 6 per cent with 811 reported incidents compared to 861 in 2012; stealing from a vehicle is down 9 per cent, standing at 1,016 compared to 1,115; incidents of stolen vehicles stands at 471 compared to 552 - a decrease of 15 per cent.
Dr Nottage broke the crime figures down further to compare New Providence, Grand Bahama and the Family Islands.
Notable differences include a 21 per cent increase in rape in New Providence – from 33 to 40, while Grand Bahama experienced a 38 per cent decline - 8 to 5, and the Family Islands, a 75 per cent decrease from 4 to 1.
Armed robbery is up in New Providence by 13 per cent - 480 reported cases compared to 435, while Grand Bahama had a decrease of 48 per cent - 23 compared to 44, and 83 per cent in the Family Islands - 3 compared to 18.
No figures were provided for “causing harm.” Last month, police officials had explained some shootings are classified as “causing harm” based on severity of the crime.