Overall crime in The Bahamas decreased by four percent for the first half of 2020, according to statistics from the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF).
The statistics covered the period January through June and show that homicides decreased by 22 percent with 36 incidents, compared to 45 in 2019.
Victims between 18 and 25 represented 35 percent of all homicides with “conflicts” being the most common motive representing 24 percent. Commissioner Paul Rolle provided the numbers in his mid-year report at police headquarters yesterday.
Rolle said 83 percent of all murders reported for the period were solved by the end of June.
However, with Bahamians under curfew and lockdowns for three and a half of the months covered by the report, he was asked to respond to those who disregard the new crime statistics.
“I give you an overview of what we did and what we are doing to ensure the Bahamian people are safe,” Rolle said.
“Those who wish to dismiss those figures can look at what I’m saying. Everything that we said we would do, we did. I’m not satisfied that everyone in The Bahamas feels safe, but I’m working towards that.”
He added, “The thing is to build trust. And one way to build trust is you have to get to know people and as you get to know the people in your community, they get to know you and they will share information with you.
“That is where we’re trying to go in the RBPF. The numbers will take care of themselves.
“Now, I’m certain the lockdown may have been some help with the numbers because a lot of business places that would have been targets were closed. But when you look at the bigger picture, I’m certain that you have to give credit to these men and women you see sitting in the front of you.”
According to the report, armed robberies decreased by 34 percent with 141 incidents, compared to 215 in 2019.
The report noted that armed robberies occurred mostly between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Vehicle theft decreased by nine percent with 114 incidents reported, compared to the 125 during the same period in 2019.
Hondas were the most targeted vehicles of choice representing 44 percent of all vehicles stolen. Accords and Fits were the predominant models stolen.
According to the report, 44 percent of the vehicles stolen were taken from parking lots, while 19 percent were taken from residences.
Housebreakings decreased by 13 percent with 278 incidents, compared to 319 in 2019.
Up to June 30, the RBPF reported 1,549 breaches of emergency orders.
The police force uncovered 15 breaches of the Liquor License Act, executed 210 search warrants, executed 183 stop and search operations and searched an additional 248 people based on powers under the Police Act, according to the report.
When asked about criticism police have received for arresting residents for breaches like selling coconuts on the side of the street or walking to a water pump during curfew hours, Rolle said police have been instructed to use their discretion.
“We do have a little bit of discretion that we can exercise,” Rolle said.
“If you stop an individual and that individual is going to give you an explanation, well then you’re going to have to determine whether you’re going to accept that explanation or not.”
He added “It’s a matter that persons have to become familiarized with these rules for themselves because if you realize that the curfew starts at 10 p.m. we ask you to call the 311 number or you can send a message advising that you’re going to be going home.
“We’ve been very cooperative with understanding members of the public. But there will always be those who will criticize because they didn’t get it their way.”