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Progress - But We Have To Do Better: Crime Rate Falls Despite 10 Percent Jump In Murders

Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson.

Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson.

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Deputy Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

OVERALL crime in the country declined by 14 percent in 2017 compared with 2016, according to Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson, however murders during this period jumped by 10 percent.

Commissioner Ferguson said police were challenged by “bolder” criminals, gang violence and retaliation killings which contributed to the increase in murders last year.

Still he touted the work of law enforcement, saying overall crime in the country is trending downward.

While unveiling the RBPF’s crime statistics for last year, Commissioner Ferguson said in 2017 there were 122 recorded incidents.

New Providence recorded 104 murders, Grand Bahama 11, Abaco three and one each in Acklins, Bimini, Cat Island and Long Island, police said.

Twenty-six of these were retaliation killings, 27 gang-related, 15 classified as conflicts, 13 drug-related, seven related to robberies, 14 the result of domestic incidents and 27 had undetermined motives.

In 2016, there were 111 murders, the commissioner added.

The figures also show crimes in the Family Islands increased by six percent, mainly due to a rise in burglaries last year. In New Providence, there were increases in murder, manslaughter and unlawful sexual intercourse. 

The commissioner said preliminary figures for 2017 also indicate violent crimes across the entire Bahamas decreased by 20 percent and property crimes decreased by 11 percent.

There were 13 attempted murders, one incident of manslaughter, 52 recorded rapes, 11 attempted rapes, 146 acts of unlawful sexual intercourse, 575 armed robberies, 115 robberies and 16 attempted robberies in 2017.

In 2016, 26 attempted murders were recorded along with one instance of manslaughter, 71 rapes, 15 attempted rapes, 144 incidents of unlawful sexual intercourse, 783 armed robberies 175 robberies and 15 attempted robberies.

When crimes against property are considered, almost every category declined. Burglary decreased by 15 percent; housebreaking by 11 percent; shop breaking four percent; stealing six percent; stealing from a vehicle nine percent; and stolen vehicles 31 percent. This constituted a 14 percent overall decrease in crimes against property in 2017 over 2016.

These results, the commissioner said, represented a dent in crime and that police are on the right track.

He said: “With the help of almighty God, the hardworking officers of the Royal Bahamas Police Force, the general public and our international partners, the Royal Bahamas Police force was able to put a dent in crime as we ended 2017.

“Crimes in New Providence and Grand Bahama decreased by 14 and 26 percent respectively. Crimes in the Family Islands however increased by six percent. This slight increase in the Family Islands was mostly attributed to a rise in burglaries.

“With respect to the offence of murder, overall incidents slightly increased by 10 percent with 122 incidents compared with 111 incidents in 2016.

“However, when we analyse murder trends on a quarterly basis we notice some promising results. During the first quarter of 2017 murders were up by 33 percent. During the second quarter murders were up by 10 percent and in the third quarter murders more than doubled. However in the fourth quarter murders decreased by some 53 percent. More specifically there was only one murder in November and five in December. This decrease was meaningful as murders previously average about 12 per month.

“For the first time in a long time the Bahamian people can breathe a sigh of relief as incidents of this most heinous crime have begun to subside.

“Let it be known that despite the overall decreases in crime, we are still not satisfied with the current level of crime in our country, but while we feel very good and are encouraged by the positive results we observed last year - particularly during the fourth quarter - we’ll not be side tracked, but will remain focused on our mandate,” the commissioner also said.

In New Providence, three categories of crime remained at increased levels. Murders in 2017 increased by 17 percent with 104 cases compared with 89 in 2016. Manslaughter saw one incident last year compared with none in 2016, while unlawful sexual intercourse increased by 23 percent. There were 107 cases reported in 2017, while 87 were reported in 2016.

Attempted murder declined by 45 percent, rape 37 percent, attempted rape 17 percent, armed robbery 27 percent and robbery 35 percent.

Burglary, housebreaking, shop breaking, stealing, stealing from a vehicle and stolen vehicles also all trended downward at 23 percent, 7 percent, 10 percent, five percent, eight percent, and 32 percent respectively.

In Grand Bahama, almost all categories of crimes against the person declined except attempted rape. One incident of this crime was recorded in 2017, but there were none in 2016.

For the Family Islands, there was a 13 percent increase in crimes against the person.

The commissioner attributed the overall decrease in crime to a number of factors.

“We know that this was not a mere coincidence but the results of analysing trends, refocusing policing operations and getting valuable intelligence from members of the public, the operations of the Anti-Gang and Firearms Unit and the Rapid Response Unit which I established soon after taking leadership of the force. The flying squad and uniform divisions have also impacted murders as problems associated with gangs and gun activity will ultimately lead to murder.

“During 2017 there were a number of focused interventions that yielded positive results, including a major housebreaking ring, which was dismantled in the western district of New Providence. Traditional policing played a meaningful role in detecting this. The suspects were arrested, charged and convicted on many counts.

“We were able to seize 327 illegal firearms and nearly 10,000 rounds of ammunition from the streets. There were a significant number of drug seizures including over 17,000 pounds of marijuana as well as the discovery of marijuana fields with other 16,000 plants.

“Our increased use of technology such as ballistics examinations resulted in solving a number of crimes that involved firearms. We began testing body and dash cameras as we seek to increase the level of professionalism accountability and transparency. Discussions are also ongoing on a number of other cutting-edge law enforcement technologies, which will further assist us in our policy, response and detection.”

The release of the 2017 crime statistics took on a slightly different form from previous years, as the commissioner’s policing plan for 2018 was not released. Commissioner Ferguson said the plan was submitted to National Security Minister Marvin Dames, but he declined to reveal any of its details saying he did not want to do so in the event the minister had not yet gotten the opportunity to review the plan. He was unable to give a definitive answer on when the comprehensive policing strategy would be released to the public.

While Commissioner Ferguson would not detail his 2018 plan, he said it would be geared toward effective management, professionalism, optimising the use of technology and interacting with at risk youth. The plan will also focus on road safety and a continued prevention and reduction of crime.

He also said Bahamians can expect to see a high number of officers on the streets.

NOTE: This story previously stated that overall crime had declined by 13 per cent - that was incorrect. It has declined by 14 per cent.

Comments

SayWa 1 year, 5 months ago

Every C.O.P says the same thing. Crime is down bla, bla, bla..........

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stillwaters 1 year, 5 months ago

Yeah.......heard these lies before.....over the last five years. Think we need to hear the same lies for the next five years????? And they send these fellows in the tan uniform to say this because they think we will believe the lies, coming from them?????

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TalRussell 1 year, 5 months ago

Ma Comrade Braddas, the statistics of there being but '3' murders occurred in all of Abaco for the 2017 year, blows away the whacked opinions of those consistent bloggers to these hereto Tribune blog pages that the real cause crime in we Bahamaland can be solved - if only we deported all legal and illegal Haitians. Our crime is a homemade problem and since we born it tis only we to blame and responsible fix it. Stop blaming the Haitians and US state department. Isn't no one but our own mainly younger Bahamalanders doing the majority da crimes. We have become sick in the damn heads.

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joeblow 1 year, 5 months ago

I guess they killed the people who were committing the other crimes hence the 'decrease' in "other" crimes!

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BahamasForBahamians 1 year, 5 months ago

Wow.. So Brave Davis had to comment for this guy to actually speak, in his capacity as Commissioner, on crime.

Well FNMs we know you guys hate Brave DAvis, even if for no other reason than his ability to make meal for himself without eating out of your UBP masters hands, there is one good thing that has come out of his speech.

That is he forced the commissioner to actually speak on crime.

Now if only we are able to get him to articulate his plan.. Maybe we can start to have a little confidence in him.

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John 1 year, 5 months ago

When you dissect the crime figures one can see that the majority of crimes are related either to the economy or to gangs and gang related activities. Murders, for example. The report indicates that at least half of them are related to gangs and drug warfare and/or retaliation killings. So by eliminating gangs from the picture murder and almost every other crime will decline. This has been clearly demonstrated over the past few months when several notorious persons, who may have been responsible for dozens of murders, have themselves been killed or went into hiding. Where did the gangs come from? Young Bahamian males as young as 15 are not known for killing and committing murders. So and shooting people. So this begs the question, “where are the guns coming from?’ I put it to you that over 90% of all illegal guns used in crime were manufactured in the United States and for the Bahamas that figure is several percentage points higher. Illegal guns and gun smuggling is big business for the United States. It is very profitable and involves big wigs including legislators and sitting judges. They dump the guns and weapons and ammunition in countries, like The Bahamas, then agitate young people to use them. To kill each other. And despite all the joint efforts The Bahamas had with the United States to fight the war on drugs, how much effort has America made to even help keep its illegal guns out this country? Why? Because it is big business. Big business. And even some cities in the US have problems with gun control because when they strengthen their gun laws the state next to them relaxes theirs. Yet they tell their citizens visiting that the country is unsafe.

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Aegeaon 1 year, 5 months ago

Again with this? You need to look at the bigger picture. My answer will be the same. The Bahamas chose to be a narco-state, and this is one of the symptoms that is showing up. WE chose to be cheap at the cost of thousands of Bahamian lives, and it seems that you can't find what is going on. Sure, there is corrupt US officials, but they're not to blame. We are to blame because the Bahamian government and society wanted easy money, which is criminality. Accept your faults and move on. The US is only trying to help, why push them away?

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TalRussell 1 year, 5 months ago

Ma Comrade Braddas, don't mind the noise in the Market place - mind the price fish, does speaks to the truth that the new Commish Policeman's doesn't knows the cost to the public purse to just clothe per individual policeman's?
I goin bets neither he or his entire officer score doesn't even know the cost per uniform per policeman's? Why not do away with buying uniforms for policeman's, immigration, customs officers and all on the government purse to save hundreds millions dollars of the public purse monies? Buy in bulk to outfit everyone with a simple white shirt/blouse and hand them official badge to attach. I bets just clothe the Commish, has cost public purse $4000 x 4 outfits equals $16,000 every 6 months, or $32,000 yearly.... and I ain't even include all cost all different hats gloves and shoe styles the Commish wears for different occasions? {There's no making this up}.

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John 1 year, 5 months ago

Tal you should use some of the effort you are using to hide behind this fake ‘foreign English ‘ pen and get real. Your rantings are not even consistent and everyone knows persons struggling with English write better than they speak. Obviously your posts have nothing more to them than to create diversion. You cannot be that lacking in common sense as to not grasp control of the English language to a sensible degree over the years you have been posting. The only person you are fooling is yourself, even if you are getting paid to post mostly garbage.

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John 1 year, 5 months ago

Aegedon.. how is America trying to help? American made guns and ammunition are killing more people around the world than drugs. And what is doing to curb or control the sale of these illegal guns? If America’s borders are so porous that so many millions of weapons and arms can flow out unnoticed and undocumented then Donald Trump is wasting his time even thinking about the effects of a wall on the Mexican boarder. And the Bahamas was not a narcotic state. Drugs were never produced here (just like guns weren’t) and these drugs started to flow through the Bahamas even before Bahamians knew what the drug trade was about. Which country has the US ever cooperated with to stem the flow of illegal weapons to that country? That’s why the Bible refers to America as ‘the lamb that speaks like a dragon.’

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ashley14 1 year, 5 months ago

The Bible does not even refer to the US.

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ashley14 1 year, 5 months ago

The Bible doesn't refer to the US. The never speaks of this land in anyway. Yikes! Earlier you said the Clinton's were murderer's of children. :(

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Aegeaon 1 year, 5 months ago

Sure. America may have their own issues, but this isn't how America is supposed to act. It was because of the 1% who manipulates the Americans to commit such crimes. That country is a victim of economic lies that the wealthy bastardos offered to the US. In reality, the US wants to help, but the 1% keeps tricking them into doing their deeds. The US aided Colombia to recover following Pablo's rise and defeat, and to stabilize Mexico during the years of 2006 to today. They're helping them because they now lost their edge of combating the threat.

There are many versions of the 1% around the planet. There are the Rockefellers, then we had the Medellin Cartel with Carlos Lehder back in the 80's who had nearly billions of dollars in cocaine, and unlike America. We chose to side with the Cartel, made us a narco-state for years. he sold so many drugs into Miami that it started the street wars from that point, his legacy with Escobar entitled Bahamians to be independent drug runners to today, and some of those Bahamians are now sicarios in Colombia or Mexico's drug lords.

All of that drug money lies in your Central Bank after Carlos left the Bahamas. All of our money that we borrow is sent to the Mexican Cartels for more street weapons and dirty personal money, or sent to ISIS-associated groups. In return we sent some gangsters to the cartels from the government and they also told the Bahamians to lie when the US government asks for advice.

That's it, this is your reward. A narco-state that is secretly serving cartels at the expense of Bahamians and the trust of the US. The only way to solve this? Accept your crimes, burn the drug money, and you may have a chance at redeeming yourselves to combat the cartel menace.

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John 1 year, 5 months ago

Ashley poor Ashley. You’re lost!

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John 1 year, 5 months ago

"3. Which nation was predicted to arise around the same time the papacy was receiving its deadly wound? "And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon." Revelation 13:11.

Answer: The papal captivity mentioned in verse 10 took place in 1798, and the new power (verse 11) was seen emerging at that time. The United States declared its independence in 1776, voted the Constitution in 1787, adopted the Bill of Rights in 1791, and was clearly recognized as a world power by 1798. The timing obviously fits America. No other power could possibly qualify.

Prophecy predicted that America would arise from a sparsely settled area. Prophecy predicted that America would arise from a sparsely settled area.

  1. What is the significance of the beast "coming up out of the earth?" Answer: This nation arises "out of the earth" instead of out of the water as did the other nations mentioned in Daniel and Revelation. We know from Revelation that water symbolizes areas of the world that have a large population. "The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues." Revelation 17:15. Therefore, the earth represents the opposite. It means that this new nation would arise in an area of the world that had been virtually unpopulated before the late 1700s. It could not arise among the crowded and struggling nations of the Old World. It had to come up in a sparsely populated continent."
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Aegeaon 1 year, 5 months ago

Stop with this fear mongering about Revelations. Why do you want Hell to appear so quickly on everyone on Earth? Stop blaming America and accept responsibility, because Bahamians are the owners of the Bahamas, you have no one to blame but yourselves.

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ashley14 1 year, 4 months ago

John, I laughed out loud to read this. Even your quote from the Bible doesn't mention the US. It speaks in metaphors. If you want to interpret that way, that's your business. America isn't against the Bahamas. Your right we have major crime and loads of crazy people all over America. Am I afraid daily? NO, but always cautious. I don't think Fish Fry is full of thugs. Anytime there is drinking there will be fights and maybe a occasional weapon. It's too bad, but that is the world we live in. It's your news paper that is always reporting these articles that suggest that tourists are not safe in Nassau in particular. I have never seen or heard any of this other than on cruise ships. Our newspapers and daily news shows never mention the Bahamas or any other Island other than when there is a hurricane or earthquake. I think that your over thinking the situation. Everyone I know you say, Lets go to the Bahamas, and it's lets go. Seriously we love it. I hope you do too.

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Ashinnabash 1 year, 5 months ago

If you can fix the court situation or prison situation to keep murderers and thugs in prison maybe things can get better. As of rite now they all get out too easily.

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John 1 year, 5 months ago

Everyone is waiting the sentencing of this Larry Nassar,the sports doctor in the USA who was charged with sexually assaulting hundreds of young women, some hundreds of times when he was suppose to be treating them. And also the married couple who kept their children locked and chained like dogs in a filthy, emaciated home. Some of the children were off age but to afraid to leav their parents prison. One psychologist who gave evidence in the Nassar trial said, when explaining why these young women, some still girls, refused to report Nassar or to break ties with him after they were being molested gave this explanation: These ( young women) are like gold fish. You tap on the glass (of their fish tank) and they swim away, afraid, but they come back a few seconds later because they are curious. Over 150 women being assaulted. some hundreds of times by this trained sports doctor...but our fish fry is not safe...and the jet ski operators, young and virile men are sub humans..wow

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Aegeaon 1 year, 5 months ago

This is the punishment that is sought out after the government and society promoted criminality. Get used to it.

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ashley14 1 year, 4 months ago

The two types of crimes don't even compare John. Larry Nassar should die in jail. He took advantage of children that weren't mature enough to know how to stop it. Yes, I wonder how he got away with abusing so many women. I guess they didn't want to lose their place in the Olympics. Really no difference than sexual misconduct on the job, where the woman feels threatened that she'll lose her job. It is a man's world, even in the US.

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