COMMISSIONER of Police Paul Rolle.
By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Tribune Chief Reporter
POLICE Commissioner Paul Rolle revealed yesterday a 26 percent increase in crimes against the person, with nearly all criminal offenses in that category including murder, robberies and rape trending upward this year.
Regarding murder specifically, that category increase by 61 percent.
Despite the uptick in these serious offenses, the police chief highlighted a two percent decrease in overall crime.
The new crime stats were released yesterday shedding light on the increased level of crimes against the person, which took place between January 1 and September 30 this year.
According to the data, murders have increased by 61 percent during this time period; while there were 87 murders from January 1 to September 30, during the same period in 2020 police recorded 54.
Additionally, police said there were 20 attempted murders during the specified time period this year, when compared to 15 during the same period in 2020, for a 33 percent increase.
While there were only four cases of manslaughter this year in comparison to last year, which only saw one incident, police said this accounted for a 300 percent increase.
“Our most notable highlight for 2021 thus far is a slight overall reduction in crime,” Commissioner Rolle said during a virtual press conference. “The men and women of the force performed at an outstanding level to keep communities safe and provide police visibility throughout the Commonwealth of The Bahamas as a major deterrent to crime. This was coupled with daily operations that targeted hotspots and prolific offenders in an effort to offset and interrupt criminal activity.”
However, he was defensive when asked by The Tribune whether ongoing curfews due to COVID-19 Emergency Orders had any effect on the nominal overall crime reduction.
“Which curfew are you referring to? Are you telling me that the work that these officers did day in and day out, that it didn’t have anything to do with that? I don’t accept that,” the police chief said.
“Why don’t we look at the officers and the work that the officers have done? I have said that the officers have done a tremendous amount of work. I gave you the facts of what we did. I don’t have anything (about) what curfew did because curfew did not give me a report, but I gave you a report about the officers. Let’s just focus on that. I can speak to that.”
The commissioner also said the police force had a 59 percent success rate for solving murders.
“We investigated 87 incidents of homicides thus far in 2021, compared to 54 in 2020. There were 79 murders in New Providence, six in Grand Bahama and two in the Family Islands.
“Victims between the age of 18 and 35 represent 66 percent of all homicides. Retaliation and conflict were the most common motives for murders representing 55 percent of the total. “Fatal gunshot wounds remain the leading cause of death accounting for 75 murder incidents. We were able to solve 59 percent of all murder cases from January to September 2021.”
Regarding sexual crimes, there was an eight percent increase in rapes, with 40 rapes recorded so far this year compared to 37 at the same point in 2020.
Meanwhile, armed robbery, robbery and attempted robbery also all increased.
Specifically, there were 317 armed robberies from January to the end of September compared to 281 during the same period in 2020, for a 45 percent increase. There was a 16 percent increase in robberies: 73 incidents were reported during the aforementioned period this year and 63 reported during the same time last year. Attempted robberies saw a 57 percent increase with 11 this year over last year’s seven.
“Armed robberies occurred mostly between the hours of 7pm and 10pm. Most armed robberies occurred on the streets with business establishments and residences close behind. Firearms continue to be the weapon of choice for the commission of armed robberies,” Commissioner Rolle said.
Both attempted rape and unlawful sexual intercourse decreased by 20 percent.