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New book provides insight into murder trends

Most murders in The Bahamas occurred in the southeastern areas of New Providence by Bahamians who live in those areas, using 9mm handguns, according to a book that outlines the statistics surrounding murders in this country between 2005 and 2009.

The book, entitled’Reducing Murder in The Bahamas: A Strategic Plan Based on Empirical Research’, seeks to help police and the general public understand the anatomy of murders in The Bahamas that occurred within that four-year period.

During that period, 212 out of 349 murders in The Bahamas were as a result of gun shot wounds, while the second highest cause of death was stabbing.

The book adds that 73 percent of those murders were solved by police and that since that time, there has been a reduction in murders in Grand Bahama, which was also included in the study along with other Family Islands that experienced violent crimes.

A copy of the book can be downloaded for free from the Royal Bahamas Police Force’s website www.royalbahamaspolice.org.

Its statistics reveal that the top three motives for murder were arguments, robbery and revenge. Murders in Grand Bahama were mostly drug related.

Author of the book, Sergeant Chaswell Hanna, said yesterday other trends included murders occurring at nightclubs and bars and murders being committed by individuals who had been released on bail by the courts.

He added that the record setting year of 2010 for murders is now being overshadowed by current numbers that trend upward.

Hanna suggested that if the number of armed robberies could be reduced, the number of deaths due to armed robberies could be reduced, while the number of murders could be reduced if more firearms were taken off the street.

This, he said, is the basis for the policing strategy suggested in the book, which is to focus policing efforts on certain strategic things in order to reduce crimes. An example is to reduce gun smuggling, thereby reducing gun crimes and inevitably gun related murders .

One of the strategies suggested by the book for reducing murders related to domestic violence is to actively police those residences where domestic violence calls have been made and to promote counseling.

“Increased follow-up visits should be made in domestic violence cases where one party left the scene prior to police arrival,”the book suggested.”Intimate partners categorized as being at a’high’risk should be referred to the Family Services Unit of the Department of Social Services or the Crisis Center to attend counseling.”

In the case of murders committed by individuals on bail, the book suggests those individuals should be aggressively monitored and if found in breach of the terms of their bail, be dealt with”swiftly”and”accordingly.”

In terms of armed robberies, the book suggests heavier policing in high risk areas at high risk establishments and a campaign to make the owners of those establishment more aware of what they can do to protect their establishments.

“Divisional commanders should complete a standard Robbery Vulnerability Assessment Form for all business establishments within their division,”the book says.

“A copy of the assessment should be given to each business operator and should include suggestions on how they can lessen their risk.”

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