Crime across The Bahamas fell by 17 percent for the first half of the year, compared to the same period in 2018, according to statistics released by Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson yesterday.
The data revealed that murders decreased by 17 percent, with 45 murders recorded from January 1 to June 30, 2019, compared to the 54 murders recorded during the same period in 2018.
“Despite this downward trend, however, there is the fear of crime,” Ferguson said during a press conference at police headquarters.
“So the police are working assiduously to reduce this fear by increasing our visibility in communities and through intelligence-led operations.”
Ferguson said violent crimes decreased by 14 percent while property crime decreased by 18 percent.
He noted that more than 80 percent of murders in the country are committed with the use of illegal firearms.
“As long you have criminals and as long as you have people who support criminals, it would be difficult for you to stop them, but we would hope that people recognize that illegal guns in the hands of persons who are not responsible will kill you,” he said.
He added, “I want to take this opportunity to warn persons not to harbor persons who are wanted for crimes.
“Criminals will be met with stiff lawful resistance.”
Attempted murders increased by 14 percent, with eight recorded in the first half of 2019 compared to seven in 2018.
However, no statistics were provided for the number of shootings.
When asked about recent incidents, including a shooting in Montell Heights that saw 14 people hospitalized with gunshot wounds, Ferguson said he is unhappy with the numbers.
“It is not where we want them to be,” he said.
“It’s at an unacceptable level because, as I indicated in my remarks a short time ago, there are far too many guns on the streets, far too many.
“If there is only one person injured from a shot from a weapon, that is too much.”
According to the statistics, there were 24 reported rapes in the first half of 2019 compared to 38 in 2018, a decrease of 37 percent.
Moreover, during that period, there were 215 armed robberies in 2019 compared to 229 in 2018, a decrease of six percent.
Ferguson said the improved statistics are the result of a more intentional approach by police.
“Given the dynamics and complexity of crime, the Royal Bahamas Police Force is being more intentional in its approach to policing, as modern-day criminals are a major threat to the public and national security,” he said.
He added, “For the first half of this year, we have conducted 30 major intelligence-led operations throughout the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. As a result of these operations, a number of persons were arrested, charged and put before the courts.”
Ferguson said that traffic-related deaths decreased by 33 percent compared to last year, with 28 recorded in 2019 compared to 42 in the same period in 2018.
Crimes against property decreased in all major categories. The number of burglaries fell from 58 in the first half of 2018 to 41 during the same period in 2019, a 29 percent decrease.
Housebreaking incidents decreased by 21 percent, from 414 in the first half of 2018 to 327 in the first half of 2019.
Shop-breaking incidents also decreased by nine percent, from 293 in 2018 to 267 in 2019. Incidents of stolen vehicles also decreased by 37 percent.
While New Providence, Grand Bahama and the Family Islands all saw decreases in overall crime, there was a notable increase of 39 percent in crimes against the person on Grand Bahama.
There were five murders in the first half of the year on the island, compared to four during the same period in 2018.
There were six incidents of attempted murder between January and June 2019, compared to four during the same period in 2018.
There was also a notable increase in the number of armed robberies, from four in the first half of 2018 to 11 in the same period of 2019.
Ferguson warned Bahamians to be mindful of the company they keep.
“Today’s criminals are ruthless in committing criminal acts and often endanger the lives of innocent persons in the process,” Ferguson said.
“Therefore, it is vital that individuals be extremely cautious of the company they keep. I know this may sound simple but the reality is that bad company corrupts good character and we are judged by the company we keep.
“On the other spectrum, keeping good company with wise people can have a positive effect.”