By FARRAH JOHNSON
BAHAMIAN entertainer Demetrius Smith is in hospital after being stabbed during an armed robbery in eastern New Providence early on Sunday morning.
Photos circulating on social media yesterday showed Mr Smith, known as “The Karaoke King”, lying in a hospital bed with a head bandage and face stitches. According to a police report, shortly after 3am on Sunday, a man was at a residence on San Souci off Eastern Road when he was approached by two men who robbed him of cash and a red Chevy Tahoe. The victim, who was physically assaulted and stabbed during the encounter, was taken to hospital where he is currently listed in stable condition, police said.
A short time later, officers on the scene observed a red Chevy Tahoe canvassing the area. The officers pursued the vehicle but the driver refused to stop and led police on a chase.
The Chevy crashed in the area of Fox Hill Road and Eastern Road where the two men got out of the vehicle and fled on foot. However, officers pursued the suspects and caught them a short time later. Both males were arrested and taken into custody.
The Tribune canvassed the San Souci area yesterday and spoke to residents who said the incident has left them shaken and calling for stronger police presence in the community.
One resident, Jawara Pierre, told this newspaper that he was angered when he heard what had happened to Mr Smith, a popular event host and public speaker.
“The incident gave me great concern because I have young children and to have someone come and violate my home out of their own hunger or greed doesn’t make me feel safe, that makes me feel unsettled,” he said.
Mr Pierre added that he does not believe the police force has been given “enough leverage” to effectively carry out their duties.
He said he believes their hands are being “consistently tied” by “higher ups” who have unintentionally contributed to the country’s crime problem.
When asked to elaborate he added: “The minister of national security in particular, there are things that they’re investing in that is useless and a waste of money. The police could be given more vehicles in the different districts.
“Right here at the Elizabeth Estates Police Station, when my gas tank was stolen, they didn’t even have a car to come and help me. That’s right there (but) I had to walk there and put in a report.”
Mr Pierre insisted that money should be invested to ensure that police can be “mobile and seen and felt in the community.”
He also said he believed this would make potential criminals think twice before attempting to break the law.
“We have a strong community here in Eastwood and San Souci,” he said. “We are our neighbour’s keeper…so it’s a sad event that happened to Demetrius and we hope to have a stronger police presence in this area.”
Lennis Rahming, another resident in the area, said he no longer feels safe in the community in view of Sunday’s armed robbery and other incidents that have occurred over the last few years.
“I believe the area is a targeted area because the guys (committing the crimes) they’re not stupid,” he said.
“They watch the area so if you are living in an upscale or particular house, then they look and say ‘Well okay if he has that house, then he should have so and so inside and I’m coming after it’ –that’s our problem.”
Mr Rahming said he has also had personal experiences with people attempting to trespass on his property on different occasions.
“Before we were able to wall our house in, my wife came home with my son and met three guys in the yard...in another incident, my wife was in the kitchen and then she saw the guy in the back of the yard and when she screamed the guy ran. It happened when I wasn’t home but that’s what’s happening here.”
Mr Rahming insisted these kind of things keep happening because of a “serious lack of police presence” in the area.
“The police for the most part when they do pass this way they’re not checking, slowing down or asking how things are going. They should have some presence out there...but they’re not doing that,” he said.
Likewise, Leo Morley said that while his home has never been targeted for an armed robbery or break-in, he is still concerned to hear about what is happening in the neighbourhood.
“I think last night’s incident did raise an alarm and it should because these are our homes,” he told The Tribune.
“We worked hard to build these homes and provide for our families and...sometimes you have your kids home and they break into the home, you never know what could happen.
“A few years ago we saw the police pretty often, but now I don’t see them as often as I used to.”
Police have reported a string of home invasions and armed robberies in recent weeks. Last week, a woman was raped during a home invasion in Coral Harbour.
Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) Superintendent Shanta Knowles said although police are alarmed, they do not know if these types of crime are becoming a trend. While affirming the force’s commitment to ensuring the safety of communities, she encouraged the public to be alert and vigilant.
“We have a job to do and we’re focused on doing just that – making our presence felt in the community. We will support all victims of crime….of course we will support those who were sexually assaulted,” she said last week.