Serious Crime Down By 26%

Former Police Commissioner Ellison Greenslade.

Former Police Commissioner Ellison Greenslade.


Tribune Staff Reporter


SERIOUS crimes in The Bahamas declined by 26 per cent in 2016, the most significant year-to-year drop since 2004, Police Commissioner Ellison Greenslade revealed yesterday.

Describing 2016 as “extremely productive” for police, Commissioner Greenslade, addressing his annual meeting with the press, said: “We aligned ourselves with all of those action points in the policing plan that we put to you in 2016 and those actions that we took in a collaborative fashion produced extremely good dividends.”

He added: “Are we really satisfied that we are where we should be? Absolutely not. We still have far too many of our young sons and our relatively young daughters who are not behaving in a manner which brings any pride to us as a country or to us as family members.”

According to police, the overall decrease in serious crimes was influenced by double digit decreases in almost every category of crime, he said.

This included a 24 per cent drop in murders, falling from a record 146 in 2015 to 111 in 2016, according to police statistics.

The murder total last year was the lowest since 2012, though it continued to

conform with the concerning high murder rate trend that began within the last decade.

The RBPF’s record of murders in 2016 differs from The Tribune’s total of 114.

However Commissioner Greenslade said some matters reported by police last year are before the coroner and have therefore not yet been classified.

Nonetheless, 85 per cent of the murders last year were committed with the use of a gun, compared to 12 committed with a knife.

Seventy-two of the murder victims in 2016 were adult men between 18 and 35 and seven were women.

The crime statistics booklet provided to the press said: “Twenty-four of the murder cases were drug related, 23 were gang related, conflicts between persons accounted for 19 cases, and 14 cases were as a result of retaliation because of ongoing feuds between people known to each other.”

It added: “The highest number of murders were recorded in the south-central division (19) and northeastern division (19), followed by central division in New Providence (13) and central division in Grand Bahama (13).”

“Most murders (54 or 49 per cent) were committed on Monday nights between the hours of 4pm and midnight. Most murders were committed on the streets.”

Commissioner Greenslade expressed concern about the detection rate of murders in 2016, saying it was “relatively low” compared to the past.

He believes this is because witnesses to alleged crimes are intimidated by accused murders granted bail.

Witnesses are also approached by “unscrupulous persons who convince them to file affidavits to recant their initial statements to police,” he said.

Finally, he said the low detection rate is likely influenced by retaliation by associates of victims “who seem to have acquired a propensity to settle matters away from the courts.”

The Commissioner again lamented the impact that granting bail to people accused of serious crimes has on policing efforts, as he gave examples of people who have continually been arrested and taken before the courts where they are then granted bail, only to return to criminal activity.

“If we do not do something about re-offenders who in a very short time after being arrested for serious crime are back in our communities re-offending, again committing serious crimes, we’re never going to solve the problems we have and we are going to lose the good reputation that we have,” he said.

His characterisation of the bail problem came although Attorney General Allyson Maynard Gibson released statistics last year indicating that the rate of bail granted to people accused of serious crime has been on the decline because of the efforts of her office.

Besides murder, many categories of serious crime saw double digit per cent decreases in 2016.

Three exceptions were attempted murders, which rose by 30 per cent, 20 in 2015 compared to 26 in 2016; unlawful sexual intercourse, which rose 17 per cent from 123 in reported instances in 2015 to 144 in 2016; and attempted robbery, for which there were 15 reported cases, a rise from 12 from 2015. This represents a 25 per cent increase.

According to the figures, there was a 50 per cent decrease in manslaughter, from two cases in 2015 to one last year; an 18 per cent decline in rape, from 87 in 2015 to 71 in 2016; and a six per cent drop in attempted rape, from 16 cases in 2015 to 15 in 2016.

There was a 19 per cent decline in armed robbery, from 967 in 2015 to 783 last year. There was a similar decline in robbery incidents, from 200 in 2015 to 175 in 2016, a decline of 13 per cent.

Across the board, a decline in crimes against property was recorded in 2016 as well, for an overall decrease of 29 per cent in this category.

This included a 15 per cent decline in burglary, from 191 to 162 in 2016; a 25 per cent decline in housebreaking, from 1,320 to 985 in 2016; a nine per cent decline in shop breaking, from 799 to 725 in 2016; a 13 per cent decline in stealing, from 1,280 to 1,113 in 2016; a 47 per cent decline in stealing from vehicles, from 2,361 to 1,250 last year and a 30 per cent decline in stolen vehicles, from 951 to 669.


athlete12 3 years, 4 months ago

Serious crimes being down 26% isn't anything to talk about. Simply but if you had 10 serious crimes, you now have just over 7.

However the commissioner has a point. In most communities the people know who the offenders are, the thieves, murders, drug dealers etc.. and don't speak up out of fear or simply minding their own business until it hits home. Additionally our judiciary system comes off as lenient because these offenders are back streets within weeks.

I recommend the police hosting events in these communities to build relationships. From very young our young men are being taught by friends and family in some cases that the police is the enemy, their oppressor. This in a sense is also understandable because how to you openly speak to some who only interact with when there is trouble? So naturally there is fear.

Judiciary system needs to put in place a minimal holding time for these serious crimes especially murder and if this is against our laws, bring it to the vote of the people and make the necessary changes. Our system has no teeth and the criminals know that.


ohdrap4 3 years, 4 months ago

well i suffered a house break-in in dec-2016. on the same night, two other homes were also broken into on the same street.

just about evryone i know has been robbed at gun point or someone has entered their home.

i wonder if they really report all the home break ins.


Greentea 3 years, 4 months ago

No! 3 homes on the same street in one night? You know they weren't the only houses hit that day and since it is a 365 day job- and for them it is "a job"- do the math. This report is a tragedy and what is worse is that the commissioner can't see it for what it is.


sheeprunner12 3 years, 4 months ago

Anyone can use statistics to prove a point ........ But if the threshold point is HIGH, a decline does not mean that the elevated rate has produced a safe environment ............... after a high of 140 murders, a 25% decline would still produce over 100 murders ........ Where is the comfort in that???????


John 3 years, 4 months ago

It is true that after a high of 147 murders last year the real reduction is just 10% reduction of the annual average murders. Up until October this country had the possibility of keeping the murder rate under 90 murders which would have been 35% below the average and 45% below the 2015 figure. But apparently gang warfare broke in October and youn men started dropping like flies. Obviously many were killed because they were associated with one gang or another or with a faction of the gang that is at war with itself. Many of them took no effort to protect because they didn't suspect they were a target. And halfway into January and with 6 murders recorded the police still haven't figured how to stop this wholesale killing.


TalRussell 3 years, 4 months ago

Comrades! Crime has a lot more falling to do to reduce the fear of crime in our neighbourhoods, communities and at our business establishments.
The Commish will understand why there will be many who will suggest the crime statistic's have only declined because victims of crimes don't even bother reporting them?
Citizens, residents, business owners and workers will only begin to believe that they and their families are safer, once they're satisfied that the released statistics are not just based on policeman's facts and figures and were not compiled in consultation with the government as the influencing creative mathematicians.
Commish we know your heart is good but you, we and your policeman's - still have a heavy load haul to give citizens and residents the hope that the freedom of movement and to assemble as a community without the fear the thugs robbing or killing them - will indeed return back to their neighbourhoods and communities.
Commish, crime has corroded our nation's communities, degraded our society, and helped to foster a whole new set criminals out otherwise good citizens.


John 3 years, 4 months ago

Yes we must commend the commissioner and the police and everyone else involved that there was a reduction. The country did not get to this point overnight and it will take time to clean it up. It will take more patience and more effort from everyone. Even the need to go out and warn youn men against becoming involved in crime and gangs and illegal drugs. And of course let them know the possibilities of having their life cut short.


TalRussell 3 years, 4 months ago

Comrade John, I believe there are strong correlations to our own society's fear of crime and the low numbers potential voters who are not showing up to register to vote in the upcoming 2017 General.... Maybe has something to do with all hope being lost?
Unfortunately, the the WE PROTEST against the government on Majority Rule Day, never addressed the correlations that are fast eroding our society, young people, forcing even more out paycheques workers fight their survival, neighbourhoods and communities.
Comrade John, business establishments are closing their doors at sundown and throwing their workers out paycheques - due loss revenues from the increased risks of operating their businesses after dark.


John 3 years, 4 months ago

The voter apathy is more than just crime shock. Persons are just disillusioned and feel a sense of hopelessness. Not just happening here but around the world. Young people, many of them who will be voting for the first time, are not sure of how the system operates. If they are unemployed they see no reason to vote. Hopefully one day drivers education will become a part of the 12th grade curriculum. Then applications to register will be filled out by every student who is over 17 and graduating. Those who are 18 will have their applications filed to be registered and those 17 will have their applications filed on their 18 birthday. That way every high school leaver/graduate will be registered to vote within one year after leaving school and they will have drivers education even if they do not pass the test to get a drivers license.


goodbyebahamas 3 years, 4 months ago

When the Bahamian people realize their not dealing with a government but a crime cyndacate, that's when things will really change. Otherwise it will be the same $hit on just another day. I predict Mr. Henfield will fall to the hands of the PLP before election time comes.


Greentea 3 years, 4 months ago

The low voter turnout has a lot to do with apathy but a lot of Bahamians- A LOT - of middle class voting Bahamians have already left the Bahamas and no one is talking about it.


sealice 3 years, 4 months ago

Serious Crime Down.... Serious BullShit UP!!!!


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