Being safe in the modern Bahamas
Many residents of New Providence are fearful due to the crime problem on the island. On Monday we ran a story on the robbery and break-in problem in the neighborhood of Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham(West Grove). We expressed the view that police should ensure that the adequate resources are applied to combating the problem. Senior officers have assured that this is being done.
As citizens, however, we too must do our parts, acknowledging the sad situation we are in.
Thieves and robbers are cowards. They prey on soft targets and people who are not prepared. Homes should have multiple layers of security. Alarms, security cameras, fences, dogs, security screens and burglar bars are all measures that make it more difficult for an intruder to enter your property. When your property is secure, thieves often move on to the next soft target.
It is also important to be cautious and observant. Be aware of who is behind you when you are driving. If a vehicle looks suspicious and it appears to be following you, do not pull into your driveway. Drive around. And if the vehicle continues to follow, go to a police station or call police.
Additionally, contact police if a suspicious vehicle is in your neighborhood when you are leaving or arriving at home. Don’t ignore it.
Too many homes are poorly lit. It is easy to hide in the dark and to hide in high bushes. Install adequate lighting in and around your homes and keep foliage cut to a level that allows you to see what is happening outside.
When residents of the home are out, someone should be on the lookout when they return to ensure that the area is clear.
These suggestions are not being offered out of paranoia. Violent crime has increased by more than 15 percent in all but two categories in the first 10 months of 2011, with murder and rape representing the most dramatic increases, according to police statistics. Overall, crime has increased by 10 percent.
“We do have an unacceptable level of crime in our country,”said Minister of National Security Tommy Turnquest, who tabled the crime statistics in the House of Assembly last month.
As it relates to crimes against the person, statistics show that during the period January 1 to October 11, 2011, cases of murder, attempted murder, rape, attempted rape, armed robbery, robbery, and attempted robbery all increased as compared to the same period last year.
Murder was up 44 percent, according to the statistics. Reported rapes grew by 38 percent. Armed robberies increased by 10 percent. Robberies increased by 16 percent.
As it regards property crimes, the statistics show that there were 2,502 housebreakings up to October 11, an increase of nine percent over the same period last year. Stealing from vehicles increased by 58 percent. Stolen vehicles increased by seven percent.
In this context, we as citizens must do all we can to be safe. This is not the New Providence of four decades ago.