While he noted that crime is down since the implementation of a curfew and weekend shutdowns, Minister of National Security Marvin Dames said they are not effective measures for combating crime in The Bahamas.
“Not because we are on lockdown means that crime is no more,” he said.
“I’ve been following internationally and countries are still plagued with crime, maybe at a reduced level because we have curfews and we have a lockdown, but people still live in communities. When you are not having domestic issues, you are still having issues with persons living in a community where there is conflict.
“These things don’t go away with curfews and lockdowns. They may be reduced because it reduces the opportunity for persons to commit crime. But you know a criminal all of a sudden doesn’t move away from crime because there is a lockdown and there are curfews.”
As the COVID-19 pandemic began to gain a foothold in The Bahamas, the government implemented a 24-hour curfew and weekly shutdowns in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.
Official statistics on the impact of the measures have yet to be released, but there seemed to be a noticeable reduction in the number of reported serious crimes. Last week, Commissioner of Police Paul Rolle noted that crime had been trending down.
However, since the stringency of the 24-hour curfew was relaxed, with more businesses allowed to operate, there have been several murders. Three people were killed this week.
Dames said even before the government’s measures to fight COVID-19, the country was seeing reduced crime.
“Crime is down,” he said.
“We started the year with crime being down.
“There’s always a concern when somebody is murdered or even injured. I have been hearing from the commissioner on a regular basis. I have every confidence that the commissioner and his team are on top of those incidents.”
According to crime statistics released in January, overall crime decreased by seven percent in 2019, but there was a four percent increase in murders, with 95 murders in 2019, compared to 91 in 2018.
It remains to be seen how the weeks of curfew and movement restrictions will impact the 2020 statistics.