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Homicides ‘Down By Over Half’

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 Morgan Adderley

Tribune Staff Reporter

madderley@tribunemedia.net

DESPITE several recent murders, homicides are still “down more than 50 percent” compared to last year, Minister of National Security Marvin Dames said yesterday.

Speaking with The Tribune outside of the House of Assembly, Mr Dames discussed initiatives the Royal Bahamas Police Force is using to combat crime, the upcoming scientific manpower study of the RBPF, and last weekend’s shooting incidents in Pinewood Gardens.

Mr Dames said: “Right now it’s still early into the year. But when you look at homicides, its down more than 50 percent compared to last year. So (the police) are doing a fairly good job. They’ve been seizing weapons every week, assault rifles, handguns and the like.”

While Mr Dames said murders are down more than 50 percent, The Tribune’s records show a decrease of 45 percent compared with this period last year.

Up to press time, there were 16 homicides recorded for the year, compared with 29 as of February 19, 2017, according to this newspaper’s records.

A man was shot dead Tuesday night as he visited a relative in Wilson Tract, police said.

This came after two men died and four others were taken to hospital after two separate shootings in Pinewood on Friday and Saturday nights. Another man was found stabbed to death earlier Friday at Potter’s Cay Dock.

When asked specifically about the incidents in Pinewood Gardens, Mr Dames said: “We recognise that we do have a problem with some of our young men, a number of whom have resorted to a lifestyle of gangs and drugs and other criminal activities.

“And this is the world that they’re living in, unfortunately. Not all of them, but a goodly number of them. So we’re working as a government to find some kind of solution to these problems.

“One of the things that we’re doing certainly is providing that increase in police visibility in a number of these communities that are plagued with such problems.”

He said law enforcement has seen tremendous success in the crime fight.

“We’ve been targeting prolific offenders, we’ve been using technology as well to expose those persons who are involved in gang activities, who are involved in the selling of drugs in these communities, who are involved in armed robberies and housebreakings and all of the like.

“So we, from the police perspective, have been doing a pretty good job in reducing the level of activities in these communities.

“Now that is not to say that from time to time you will (not) have flare-ups like we had in Pinewood.”

However, Mr Dames added: “This is not a police problem. This is a problem of neglect. Neglect that has manifested itself over decades. And so we now as a people have to take a stance and determine what direction we want to go, we want to take our country. And it starts within our homes.

“When it reaches the police, it is often too late… Yes, the police’s job is prevention, detection of crime, apprehension of offenders and bringing them to justice.

“But how did we get here? And so we recognise as a government that our approach must be holistic and it must involve the collective contribution and support of every segment of the community.”

Mr Dames said there is a lot more work to be done in terms of restructuring the police force to aid in fighting crime.

“And so very shortly, by next month sometime, you should see something that our government has promised, which is a scientific manpower study of the police force.

“(This will be) looking at recruitment, looking at training, looking at education, looking at police stations, looking at numbers, and determining the need for every police station throughout (the country).”

Mr Dames reiterated that one major issue facing the force is the dwindling number of officers— a phenomenon that has been ongoing since 2011.

“We need to get a grip on that,” Mr Dames said.

“And we need to determine based on demographics, based on crime, based on development, based on size, any number of other variables, what is needed to police respective communities throughout The Bahamas. It’s going to be a very interesting report (the manpower study), we’re very excited about it, and we hope to certainly be sharing some of our results by next month sometime.”

Comments

John 7 months ago

A touchy situation because police killings for the same period are up a few hundred percent, making the number of persons killed basically the same.

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John 7 months ago

The murders in this country are like chain letters. When one happens several persons are blamed and more are suspected. So it causes other people to be killed and more people to be blamed or suspicious. But people on the streets are coming to realize that these murders are not per chance and some people who are losing their lives are innocent for the most part.

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John 7 months ago

President Trump on Thursday accused California law enforcement of being soft on street gangs and suggested he might pull immigration agents out of the state, prompting a strong rebuke from local officials who said the president doesn't understand their war on gangs. Trump's remarks are an escalation of a yearlong battle between his administration and California on a variety of topics including illegal immigration and law enforcement. Trump has criticized California for being a "sanctuary" for those here illegally, and federal officials have vowed immigration crackdowns in the state. On Thursday, Trump stepped up the war, predicting that gang members would wreak havoc if federal authorities withdrew from Los Angeles and other parts of the state. "I mean, frankly, if I wanted to pull our people from California, you would have a crime mess like you've never seen in California," Trump said. "You'd be inundated. You would see crime like no one's ever seen crime in this country. And yet we get no help from the state of California. They're doing a lousy management job, they have the highest taxes in the nation, and they don't know what's happening out there."

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sheeprunner12 7 months ago

John, you claim to be Bahamian, but you appear to work in the USA ........ but when compared to black Americans, Bahamians fare far better when it comes to policing ....... We have a real problem with slack parenting, that is creating a generation of entitled children. We have been through the drug era with Pindling ........ now the kickbacks era with Perry ..... We now need a new accountability era that will change our work ethic.

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John 7 months ago

How gangs/gang warfare is created and fueled: So a group of guys, call the "A" are sitting under a tree playing dominoes. Third Force approaches them and says, 'do you know dem fellas down the street are planning to attack y'all. I jes sell them some guns. Y'all need to get yourns.' So Group A decides to arm themselves and becomes Gang A. So Third Force goes back down the street and sees a group of guys playing cards. He tells them the same story he sold Gang A and they buy weapons and become Gang B. So during the night Third Force goes out and shoots and kills someone in Gang A and disappears. Because of what he told Gang A, they blame Gang B and there is a retaliation killing. Now Third Force goes to police and tells them "All these guys are gang members and armed to the 't' planning to attack each other." Third Force also tells police where to find weapons ,that he sold to the gangs, So the police are now engaged battling 'gangs that are fully armed. Third Force and the police make sure any shooting or killing makes the news and grabs headlines. Now other young men get the impression that everyone is joining gangs and toting guns so they decide to join or form their own gang and get guns and even sell them to other members. The shootings and the killings escalate and the police put out releases like, "It is only a small group of insurgents creating havoc on the rest of society.' Then travel advisories are put out on the country. But third force wicked work is not finished yet. He has some high powered weapons he got from some friends in Mexico. lets call them "Fast and furious". So third force goes back to Gang A and tells them, 'Bey look like this war really heating up.Getting dangerous. Dem boys back there getting some heavy artillery they planning to attack y'all with' So Third Force sells weapons he got from his friend 'fast and furious' to both gangs and also to some other guys. But third force also informs the police about one of his customers and the headlines scream, "Young Bahamian Men arming themselves with high power weapons."

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John 7 months ago

And of course the police are so comfortable getting information from third Force they don't bother checking his information or doesn't realize the weapons came fro his friend 'fast and furious' in Mexico. All they know is that "there is a small group insurgents creating havoc on the rest of society an since these insurgents are heavily armed the police will have to use deadly force to take them down. Then more guns re found, and drugs. Then helicopters are involved and persons are arrested and taken away and the public sits and waits for them to be charged. But Third Force has friends working in other countries throughout the Caribbean and the headlines in the newspapers are the same. The killings of hundreds of young men are just as much and everywhere the people say, ' I don't know wats wrong with these young people. They don't wann work...all dey wann do is smoke dope and kill uo one another."

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John 7 months ago

Any police commissioner who has been in charge of a police force that has committed so many killings in such a short span of time should he, himself be investigated for murder. Go in Nassau Village and ask how many young men are in custody at this very moment, just for happening to be living in that area, being held beyond the 48 hour period and not being released or being allowed to have family members visit them. The country has stepped backwards 20 years!

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sheeprunner12 7 months ago

There are FORTY Haitian squatter towns in New Providence alone ........... If a police raid on ONE produced that many guns and drugs - it is real scary to imagine what is really out there.

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John 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Well the NRA is telling its members to arm themselves against Blacks. But thus far 98% of mass shootings in the USA were carried out by non blacks. There are barely 40 legitimate subdivisions proper in New Providence. So your claim 40 shanty towns (haitian) is as fake news, And government officials have confirmed that Bahamians are also living in the shanty towns because they can no longer afford to live in regular communities.

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sheeprunner12 6 months, 4 weeks ago

John .................I believe that you are one of the reprobates Mr. Speaker was referring to ........ You say some of the dumbest things!!!!!!!!

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