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Crime down three percent

Crime during the first five months of 2020 was down three percent nationwide compared to the same time in 2019, Minister of National Security Marvin Dames said yesterday.

Dames said crimes against the person are down 31 percent, murders are down 11 percent and attempted murders are down 79 percent.

He said there were 31 murders at the end of May, with 20 on New Providence, eight on Grand Bahama and three on the Family Islands.

While many have questioned whether the lower murder toll so far this year has been a result of curfew and lockdown measures put in place to stop the spread of COVID-19, Dames said the falling numbers are indicative of his ministry’s success.

The Bahamas was placed on a 24-hour curfew and weekend lockdowns in mid-March. The daytime curfew was lifted in early June, with a nighttime curfew of 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. remaining in place. The weekend lockdown was lifted last week.

Dames said 1,134 people were arrested and charged with curfew violations up to the end of May.

“Approximately 783 persons or 69 percent of the violations were on New Providence,” he said.

 “Eleuthera had 102 violations, or nine percent. Grand Bahama had 75, or six percent and Exuma had 71, or six percent, which rounded off the top three islands with violators.”

Vexing

Dames said murder continues to be a vexing issue in The Bahamas.

“Irrespective of the island, the murder count in The Bahamas continues its downward trend, which means that our investments are paying dividends,” he said in his contribution to the 2020/2021 budget debate.

“The offence of murder, however, remains a vexing topic, particularly because many of our young men are dying at an alarming rate, while still young.

“Of the 31 murder victims for the first five months of the year, 26, or 84 percent, were males, while five, or 16 percent, were females.

“The high propensity of men being killed has a historical precedence in The Bahamas. Similar to global trends, men between ages 15 to 29 years are at the highest risk of being the victims and most likely perpetrators of murders.”

Dames said roughly 32 percent of murders committed were motivated by conflict or retaliation, while 19 percent were motivated by drugs.

Dames also noted that a majority of victims were prolific offenders.

“Of the total victim count, 20 people, or 65 percent, were prolific offenders and known to police,” he said.

“Seven of the victims were on bail for various offences, including murder, and two were being electronically monitored.

“This means that parents, both mothers and fathers, extended families, religious organizations and civil society all have a responsibility to nurture our young men and women, thereby protecting and safeguarding their development.”

While the murder toll is often a focus of the public, Dames noted armed robbery is also down 30 percent and robbery is down 14 percent.

He also noted that rape is down 30 percent and unlawful sexual intercourse is down 41 percent.

Crimes against property are up three percent compared to last year, he said.

Traffic fatalities are also trending downwards, he noted, with 25 fatalities up to the end of May. Dames said the number represents a 25 percent decrease compared to 2019.

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Rachel Knowles

Rachel joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2019. Rachel covers national issues. Education: University of Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish

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