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Bahamas murder rate sixth highest in the Americas 

The Bahamas had the sixth highest murder rate in the Americas, a recent United Nations report found.

The report, Global Study on Homicide 2019, was released on Monday and said that The Bahamas had an average murder rate of roughly 32 murders per capita between 2012 and 2016.

Honduras, El Salvador and Venezuela had the highest murder rates in the region, the report found, with averages of approximately 68, 67 and 58 respectively.

The Americas are comprised of 27 countries.

Jamaica and Belize were ranked fourth and fifth and The Bahamas sixth.

“The Americas continue to report high homicide rates,” Yury Fedotov, the executive director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, said in the report’s executive summary.

“Young men are especially at risk, with a homicide rate for men aged 18 to 19 estimated at 46 per 100,000 – far higher than the risk faced by their peers in other regions.

“Firearms are also involved far more often in homicides in the Americas than in other parts of the world.

“By contrast, Europe has seen a decline in the homicide rate by 63 percent since 2002 and by 38 percent since 1990.

“The rate in Asia has fallen by 36 percent since 1990. Data collection overall has improved since the previous Global Study on Homicide, but there remain serious gaps in the availability of reliable data for African countries.

“There are also indications that homicide is underreported in the official statistics in Pacific countries.”

The report noted that global and regional averages of rates for murder types “mask considerable variations across countries”.

“For example, countries in Latin America and the Caribbean with high or relatively high overall homicide rates, such as [The] Bahamas, El Salvador, Honduras, Colombia, Jamaica and Panama, also have the highest shares of homicides worldwide related to organized crime and gangs,” the report said.

“By contrast, in European countries with low homicide rates, the share of homicides related to organized crime and gangs is low: intimate partner/family-related homicide accounts for the largest share in these countries.”

According to the report, more than 70 percent of murders in The Bahamas are related to organized crime or gangs, roughly 10 percent are the result of domestic violence, and the remaining 20 are uncategorized.

Last month, Minister of National Security Marvin Dames said the government hopes for a reduced annual murder count of 85 before 2021.

The government has committed to addressing the root causes of crime and pledged to develop target-based strategies and modernize the branches of law enforcement.

The United Nations’ report highlighted intervention efforts by The Bahamas to prevent children and adolescents from becoming involved in crime.

“In The Bahamas, primary and secondary school curricula include compulsory programs that seek to enable children and adolescents to combat negative influences on their health and well-being,” it noted.

“The themes addressed by these programs include child abuse, sexuality, crime and violence, and gender equality. Students are taught various life skills, including skills for group facilitation, peer pressure management and effective communication.”

In 2018, The Bahamas experienced its lowest murder count in nine years with 91 murders for the year, a 25 percent decrease compared to 2017, which saw 122 murders.

There were 61 murders in 2006; 78 in 2007; 73 in 2008; 85 in 2009 and 94 in 2010.

The murder count first hit 100 in 2011 with 127 murders, a record at the time.

In 2012 there were 111 murders; 119 in 2013; 122 in 2014; 146 in 2015, the highest recorded, and 111 in 2016.

Jasper Ward

Staff Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues.
Education: Goldsmith, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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