By KYLE WALKINE
Tribune Staff Reporter
DESPITE claims from National Security Minister Dr Bernard Nottage that murders in New Providence are down four per cent, newly released crime statistics show that up to June 10, the murder rate across The Bahamas has actually risen this year by nine per cent to 61, compared to the 56 recorded by that same date last year.
The report also shows that in Grand Bahama murder has increased by 100 per cent. At the last count, a police source told The Tribune that the murder count for 2014 so far stands at 63.
The most recent murder was 22-year-old Jarreth Barry, who was shot and killed in Coral Gardens, Grand Bahama on June 19, which would mean that Grand Bahama’s murder count has more than doubled since last year.
Last week during his contribution to the 2014/2015 Budget debate Dr Nottage said in the House of Assembly that crime was trending downward and that murder in New Providence so far for the year has decreased by four per cent compared to the same point last year.
However, the minister did not indicate the overall national murder rate, neither that of Grand Bahama, where the total has reached nine this year.
“Crime is trending downwards as we have continued to say, even though people have challenged that because they are concerned about the number of murders. But overall crime is trending downwards and in New Providence,” he told The Tribune. “That is in most categories.”
“Saturation is a cornerstone of our programme. We find that as the number of vehicles have increased the people in various communities have acknowledged that they feel safer. Because of it I think the presence is having a very positive impact.”
The crime statistics show that overall there is a general decrease, noticeably in rape, attempted rape, unlawful sexual intercourse, armed robbery and robbery.
However, there have been two cases of manslaughter reported so far this year, compared to none for 2013.
According to the statistics there was a 15 per cent decrease in crime against persons from 889 in 2013 to 753 so far for this year.
Central Grand Bahama MP Neko Grant, during his contribution to the budget debate recently, urged the government to do something about crime as citizens of The Bahamas are being “suffocated” by crime.
“Unlike some, I continue to be very concerned about the crime situation in Grand Bahama,” Mr Grant said of his home town. “Three murders in 36 hours and four within a week is too much. The eighth murder for 2014 so far doubles the murder counter for 2013 in its entirety. There is certainly much reason for concern.”
Earlier this year 15-year-old Alexis Smith was shot and killed outside a nightclub on that island. Her death was the first of a spate of murders that followed on that island, two of which took place in the same place on two different days.