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MURDERS UP 63%: Figures also show increase in crimes against the person

POLICE Commissioner Paul Rolle. (File photo)

POLICE Commissioner Paul Rolle. (File photo)

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Tribune Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

THERE was an 18 percent increase in crimes against the person in 2021 compared to 2020, Royal Bahamas Police Force Commissioner Paul Rolle said yesterday.

Tied to this increase were the 119 murders that occurred in 2021 over the 73 in 2020. This represented a 63 percent increase in murders. A further breakdown of murders by district revealed that 104 of them occurred in New Providence, 12 in Grand Bahama, and three in the Family Islands.

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However, police statistics show that the overall rate of crime remained unchanged in 2021 compared to the previous year.

People between the ages of 18 and 35 represented 64 percent of all murder victims. Retaliation and conflict were the most common motives representing 45 percent collectively, the commissioner also said, adding that fatal gunshot wounds were the leading cause of death for homicides accounting for 104 incidents.

 The police were able to solve 56 percent of all homicides and the majority of them occurred between 4pm and 12am.

 Attempted murder and manslaughter also saw increases of 34 percent and 50 percent respectively.

 Asked by The Tribune yesterday whether there have been any challenges for the police force in efforts to stem the tide of violence, the Commissioner said: “Well two categories of crime I think that stands out would be those quality-of-life crimes where we have crimes against the person, which includes armed robbery and homicides.

 “The easy availability of guns and in the hands of criminals of persons who have criminal intent has been a concern and I want to say also that we’re working closely with our partners in the United States in an effort to stem the flow of these illegal firearms into The Bahamas and hopefully that will have an impact on the level of these gun crimes that are being perpetrated in our communities.”

 Regarding sexual offences, there was a seven percent increase with 48 matters reported in 2021 and 45 the year before. There was a nominal increase in the category of attempted rapes, with six last year and five in 2020, representing a 20 increase.

 Unlawful sexual intercourse declined by 23 percent with 125 in 2021 compared to the 163 that were reported in 2020.

 Finally, there were increases in armed robbery, robbery and attempted robbery of 33 percent, four percent and 36 percent respectively.

 In all, there were 870 crimes against the person reported in 2021 compared to 736 incidents of this nature in 2020, an increase of 18 percent.

 “A preliminary review of crime indicates that the deliverables targeted were achieved, as evidenced by the overall rate of crime remaining unchanged by the end of 2021 with 4,081 cases, compared to 4,064 in 2020,” Commissioner Rolle said. “We achieved our objective in this regard as the overall rate or percentage of serious crime did not increase. Albeit, there is room for improvement as various categories of quality-of-life offences did increase.

 “In our quest to keep the Bahamian public safe, we heightened police visibility throughout the Commonwealth. As a crime preventative measure, we ran daily police operations targeting hotspots and prolific offenders. As a crime deterrent strategy, we conducted road checks and engaged in aggressive stop and search tactics to remove illegal firearms and dangerous drugs from the streets of The Bahamas.

 “We executed numerous search warrants and detained persons on outstanding warrants and brought them before the courts. Notably, we were able to seize 277 illegal firearms and 3,430 rounds of ammunition in 2021. As a result, we arrested and charged 145 suspects for possession of illegal firearms.

 “We continue to work with our law enforcement partners around the world to stem the transshipment of illegal firearms to the Bahamas. On February 7 of this year, we partnered with our colleagues in the United States and seized seven pistols, one AR-15 assault rifle and 85 rounds of ammunition that was shipped to The Bahamas,” Commissioner Rolle said.

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