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Ankle Bracelets Are Failing, Says Minister

Minister of National Security Marvin Dames in the House of Assembly. Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff

Minister of National Security Marvin Dames in the House of Assembly. Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Deputy Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

MINISTER of National Security Marvin Dames yesterday outlined the chronic challenges the country faces in its fight against crime, while noting murders are up 41 per cent compared to this time last year, but overall crime is down by 19 per cent.

He said the crime problems are worsened by an ineffective electronic monitoring system where 13 people with ankle bracelets have been murdered and another wearing a device was recently charged with a killing.

The minister said latest crime figures show 268 offenders are being monitored. This includes 70 for murder, 18 for attempted murder, 102 for armed robberies and 59 for firearm offences.

He told Parliament yesterday The Bahamas is probably the only country placing ankle monitoring bracelets on offenders charged with murder and other serious crimes, while not ensuring strict guidelines are enforced.

Also contributing to challenges with serious crimes is the failing CCTV Monitoring Centre. In 2012, the government of The Bahamas spent $4.6m to establish a state of the art centre and installed 243 CCTV cameras mainly to the downtown Nassau areas and other crime hotspots throughout the island.

However, Mr Dames said the system, one of the most vital in the fight against crime, was not being properly maintained and could not be expanded due to insufficient bandwidth, which is essential for producing quality images. This impacted nearly half or 119 of the 243 cameras. In addition, hard drives and servers were not upgraded and staffing issues at the CCTV centre were far from adequate, he said.

The ineffectiveness of both crime-fighting tools has contributed to the nation’s overall crime picture, Mr Dames suggested.

Recent crime statistics, when compared with the same period last year further show murders are up by 41 per cent with 103 incidents up to press time. Attempted murder is down by 20 per cent compared to last year this time, with 12 incidents thus far and manslaughter had one incident.

In addition, rape is down by 15 per cent with 45 incidents, attempted rape increased 88 per cent, unlawful sexual intercourse is down 25 per cent, armed robbery is down by 35 per cent with 380 incidents, robbery down by 44 per cent and attempted robbery is up 17 per cent.

Burglaries are down 25 per cent, housebreaking down eight per cent, shop breaking down four per cent, stealing down 13 per cent, stealing from vehicles down 24 per cent and stolen vehicles are down 33 per cent.

Overall crime figures to date when compared to the same period last year are down 19 per cent, Mr Dames said.

He said: “Our government will be tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime and tough on criminals. We have made it clear that those who commit crimes will be punished for their actions. We have a zero-tolerance approach to criminal offenders.

“Permit me to share with you a sobering example of why the criminals feel so emboldened. Just over a week ago police officers attempted to stop a suspicious vehicle with two male occupants. After a short chase, the car came to a stop and the suspects were searched. One of the males had a .45 pistol in his pants with 10 live rounds of ammunition. When officers ran a background check on the suspect, he was on bail for two counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder. He was also being electronically monitored.”

He also told the House: “It cannot be that we should have persons being granted bail and freely roaming our streets while armed, facing multiple charges. My ministry has been in active discussions with the Office of the Attorney General to explore avenues to ensure that persons charged with multiple similar offences committed over time, remain incarcerated up to the time of their trial without bail.”

Mr Dames said the government is now in the initial phases of its crime fighting strategy.

These include conducting a manpower audit of the Royal Bahamas Police Force, a zero-tolerance approach to crime, increased police visibility, targeting of hotspots and a focus on prolific offenders.

Other strategies include strengthening of police and community partnerships, and the establishment of a guns and gangs unit, which was formed Tuesday.

The government also proposes to enact legislation “very shortly” to address the conditional release of offenders into society through a parole and probation system for first time and non-violent offenders. This new process of parole will address rehabilitation, reintegration, re-offending/recidivism and reduce costs associated with incarceration.

Comments

B_I_D___ 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Well there is a big surprise!! I think those ankle bracelets are magnets for bullets...

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TalRussell 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Comrades! Every moment of this red shirts governing mandate that passes by - makes all us wonder aloud - who in the hell else - could've comes up with the chronic challenges the country faces in its fight against crime while murders are up 41 per cent compared to this time last year.... is failing Ankle Brackets?

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birdiestrachan 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Ankle bracelets are failing and so are you "No games Dames"

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TalRussell 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Comrades! My curiosity begs the question.... Were the politicians freed on high bail amounts - ordered to wear Ankle Bracelets?

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The_Oracle 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Only way they'll work is if they sever the ankle if they stray outside of their "house arrest" Maybe aught to be necklaces. Another "dumber than Dumb" moment, go find the kickbacks.

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Greentea 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Why are we so incompetent in the Bahamas? Why can't we seem to manage and maintain ANYTHING, any SYSTEM effectively? Why are we so intent on being mediocre? We can sit back and judge but too few know how to manage and lead. Flicking band width? The flicking government of the Bahamas can't solve a problem with band width in 2017? Are you flickin kidding me? GTFOH. Not casting blame on the new admin- but get this country's sheet together. Governance in this country too often looks like clowns in a circus.

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DDK 2 months, 2 weeks ago

How right you are, Greentea! Well said!

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TheMadHatter 2 months, 3 weeks ago

So we let serious crime people out with ankle bracelets and keep petty theft and possession of one joint people in jail. Then we wonder about overcrowding? LOL. Is there a Stupid University somewhere that we graduated from?

Also arent we a signatory to some UN Convention on Human Rights? If so then why arent people who are sentenced to prison in Nassau given the option of death by firing squad? To deny that is inhumane to our people.

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sheeprunner12 2 months, 3 weeks ago

No sir ........ they are not failing!!!!! ....... they are the means for eliminating the social scum

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DEDDIE 2 months, 3 weeks ago

They need an ankle bracelets that send 10,000 kilowatts of power through these scums once they exit a designated area. Our laws don't keep up with what is needed to put a dent in crime. If a person murders someone, charge them with murder and gun possession. Charge and convict them on the gun possession and they have all the time in the world to wait in jail until there murder trial comes up. That will eliminate the need to give bail.

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TheMadHatter 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Deddie i must respectfully disagree. It is our inhumane treatment of people that devalues human life itself. We teach accused criminals that society does not care about their lives - that himan life does not matter....so they act accordingly. Why should they care about not killing someone? You say an unconvicted person should be electrocuted to death or that all police have to do is plant a gun on someone and then they can make them disappear in the bowels of the prison where there are no public records of who is in there....so they can judt be made to disappear. Is this the kind of dictatorship banana republic justice you are advocating?

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John 2 months, 3 weeks ago

YES...too many people getting killed while wearing them...wonder why

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DDK 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Because person or persons in the know are getting paid per death! Rocket science.

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DDK 2 months, 2 weeks ago

And Minister Dames told us exactly what that gives any confidence in the Government's initiative on tackling out of control crime??? This gentleman and his Ministry need to get with it.

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