Violence in Bahamas at levels close to armed conflict zones


Tribune News Editor


THE current level of deadly violence means the Bahamas almost qualifies as an armed conflict zone, a new report reveals.

Measured per 100,000 inhabitants, the murder rate over the last several years was about three times the level constituting an epidemic, roughly equivalent to a conflict zone, and continues to be one of the highest in the region.

The statistics, included in the Inter-American Development Bank country strategy for the Bahamas, also reveal that in 2010, this country had the highest prisoner to population ratio in the region and one of the highest in the world – with nearly 70 per cent of prisoners still awaiting trial.

Between 2005 and 2011, the report noted, crime against persons and property rose 49 per cent.

“These elevated levels are raising concern at the local and international levels, and have a direct influence on human welfare in the short run, and longer run affects on social cohesion and economic growth – particularly with respect to tourism,” the report said.

In 2010, the Bahamas recorded 28 murders per 100,000 inhabitants. The report noted that according to the World Health Organisation, anything above 10/100,000 constitutes an epidemic, while rates above 30/100,000 are classed as an armed conflict.

That year, there were 94 murders. The rate has exceeded 100 every year since, with 111 so far in 2013.

The report noted that there has been a steady increase in the rate of violent crime since 2005, with a brief abatement in 2009 and 2010, but then record levels in 2011.

The IDB said the factors contributing to the rate of violent crime in the Bahamas include: the country’s location along the drug transit route between South American and the United States; a relatively small criminal justice system “often overwhelmed in terms of police, courts and prisons” and unable to prosecute cases within a reasonable time; and an inability to understand and tackle citizen security issues, including the growing prevalence of young offenders.

It noted that according to the World Bank Enterprise Surveys, Bahamian businesses are “significantly constrained” by crime, with 19.5 per cent of those surveyed identifying crime, theft and disorder as major constraints to doing business in the country.

The report noted the government’s efforts to reverse the crime trend, including Urban Renewal and the Swift Justice Initiative.

But it said that notwithstanding these efforts, “there is still an urgent need for a crosscutting, inter-sectoral crime and violence strategy emphasising prevention and combining the strengthening of key sector institutions and targeting different risk factors affecting the community life in a co-ordinated way, using evidence-based interventions.”

As part of its strategy for the development of the Bahamas, the IDB suggested that it provide funding for the creation of such a strategy.

It said specific actions could include:

• Attention to at-risk youth through mentoring, social and vocational skills training, anger management, and remedial education;

• Training in community organising;

• Prevention of child maltreatment through the improvement of parenting skills;

• Prevention of violence in schools by involving neighbouring community agencies, civil society groups, community leaders, parents, as well as government agencies;

• The creation of crime-free “safe zones” in communities.


B_I_D___ 10 years, 6 months ago

...'It's better in the Bahamas....' We do everything bigger and badder down here, including our crime. Rock on all you dead beat Dads and slack mothers out there breeding this country into oblivion and endless crime. ...the lord shall provide...yeah right...more like the person you are gonna rob or kill is gonna provide.

TalRussell 10 years, 6 months ago

When the Tribune really shines. Some awesome wheel barrel full load of you know what, if there ever was. The kind of republishing, with elaboration of course. the Tribune loves to feed their most "Loyalists" readers crazy stuff, with no "fact" checking necessary. Good enough to publish as long as it meets ours and our readers political bias's.

banker 10 years, 6 months ago

I don't believe this. First there is demonstrable obsessive compulsive disorder in regards to bringing up the FNM in every conversation, and now there is denial of reality where just in today's paper, a Subway store is brazenly robbed, a baby is killed by a hit and run coward, the deputy prime minister was robbed at gunpoint, eight people were shot in a 24 hour period three weeks ago, the murder rate is in fact that of a war zone.

Let me educate you with some comparisons. Take Toronto, Canada. They have a population in the city of 2.78 million and they have had 31 homicides to this point. With that same rate, we should have three homicides every year. We have a tenth of that population and we have over 300% more homicides. Denying a problem makes you part of the problem and not part of the solution.

HarryBlack 10 years, 6 months ago

Right on banker. 300% and climbing.

jackflash 10 years, 6 months ago

You're right Tal...

Crime isn't that bad/////?

B_I_D___ 10 years, 6 months ago

Not bad at all...I feel 100% safe walking any city street...or inner city street at any time of the day or night, without fear of verbal or physical attacks getting robbed or maybe even murdered. This is our peaceful Bahamaland. Love one another...carry on, nothing to see here.

TalRussell 10 years, 6 months ago

Comrades no need to be putting on full display your republican stereotyping for any and all who dares challenge your politically slanted beliefs. Of course we have crime issues that must be dealt with. Just not the Republican way.

banker 10 years, 6 months ago

Just not the Republican way.

Pray tell, what is the Republican way?

B_I_D___ 10 years, 6 months ago

...look to God for he shall provide...if not rob steal and kill...that's the Bahamian way...republican?

spaceyg 10 years, 6 months ago

Maybe if our Country adapted to the morals of the republicans instead of an immoral democratic society we might be in a better place.

ThisIsOurs 10 years, 6 months ago

Oh those Republicans, like the one who was caught in the public bathroom trying to play twinkly toes with the guy in the next stall or Gov. Sanford who went hiking on the Appalachian trail...yeah you're right...excellent examples

(Oh forgot, the representative who was just caught with cocaine)

Alex_Charles 10 years, 6 months ago

And that would change what exactly? The ideals of Republicans don't even work in America why would you think they would work here?

TalRussell 10 years, 6 months ago

Granted PM Christie has said some things without thinking but....there is that genuine fool, former Republican President George W. Bush. Comrades even our American neighbors knew they had been so fooled by Bush that they couldn't dare take the risk of giving that other Republican Mitt Rooney the chance to fool them, a second time as their President.

President Bush -- Fool me Once

.../ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Ux3DKxx…

Thinker 10 years, 5 months ago

Seriously? Both parties suck. And you will find fault in most humans in politics. Stop talking isht and talk about solutions IN THIS COUNTRY. Let's talk education...anyone?

tourist1001 10 years, 6 months ago

This is NUTS!
I was coming in February to an out-island with my daughters to teach them scuba diving. They are 12 & 14. The ex-wife, said "no way are you taking the girls out of the USA to The Bahamas! Too much crime!" I tried to tell her, that on the out-islands it is different.

You have a great country, and the people there are so nice. I have been 4 times in last 15 years.

You need to have a recall election and take out your government leaders, or let us tourists at least travel with weapons.

ThisIsOurs 10 years, 6 months ago

Aaahhh...dont think we need more guns. But please do visit the out island of your choice and have a great time!

Thinker 10 years, 5 months ago

And here in lies a deep rooted problem. Stand up people! Stand up because they see you bending over.

CommonSense 10 years, 6 months ago

Something needs to be done and quickly before our tourism industry crashes. Cruise lines have already blacklisted us and we've appeared on lists as a country that Americans shouldn't visit.

The criminals have gotten increasingly bold. I can remember when crime was mostly a night-time thing. Now people are committing crimes in broad daylight on Bay Street. I can vouch for it because I was robbed on Bay Street back in August and I still work in the area.

The police presence down here is strong but instead of actively patrolling they rather stand around with their worthless selves and take photos with tourists. You see them between Market and Frederick Street and that's it! And only where they meet Bay.

Something needs to be done. This is more than a politics thing. People seem to have no conscience these days. A human life means nothing to these people. I come to work and I go home. Nassau dangerous.

ThisIsOurs 10 years, 6 months ago

They need to think strategically, police can't be everywhere, I think DR Minnis' CCTV suggestion is an excellent one. They won't prevent crime in every instance but they will certainly help track the culprits and get them off the street, no shaky eye witness testimony required.

Thinker 10 years, 5 months ago

And that would do ZIP with our "justice system".

TalRussell 10 years, 6 months ago

The "Ex Wife" could have been silently saying "no way are you taking 'her' girls out of the USA , to anywhere.

SP 10 years, 6 months ago

The "little emperors" solution to crime was to overwhelm an already overcrowded Fox Hill prison by throwing more young people in prison for longer periods for small quantities of pot possession and issue new shiny ankle bracelets and let all the hardened criminals run loose in the society.

Anyone with sense would have put the criminals in Fox Hill prison and use the ankle bracelets for the non violent pot offenders.

The country has gone to hell in a hand basket after 40 years of IDIOT rule.

SP 10 years, 6 months ago

Why the hell are we still locking up our people for personal use pot possession anyway? It is a misdemeanor offense in the U.S., Canada, Europe and everywhere else punishable by small fine.

Our prison is brimming over because The Bahamas is an extremely repressive democratic dictatorship.

Now the Prison is full, the people hungry and angry, untold thousands of illegal’s run the country and crime out of control....What are the IDIOTS going to do now? Lock up half the Island?

The state of our country unquestionably condemns the PLP & FNM as the worst leaders in the region.

Thinker 10 years, 5 months ago

Now there's a good tax solution! Legalize it! Decriminalize it! Tax it! Allow it! Love it!! Embrace cannabis and its easily available economic assistance.

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