Murder count inching close to last year’s figure

With the murder count appeared set to overtake last year’s, Minister of National Security Marvin Dames assured yesterday that police now have the situation under control, despite a bad period in September.

“We had a bad period, but as you can see, it has been very quiet for well over a month,” he said.

He added, “The numbers, as you would have seen from the trend over the last month, for the month we may have had one or two murders and that’s not bad. That’s not bad.

“But we’ll continue to do what we need to do to ensure that Bahamians are safe throughout this country. And the police have assured me, I speak to the commissioner a few times a day, that they are now in their holiday strategy mode and they will continue to ease up some of their static posts and officers in the stations to get more people on the streets.”

Last year, there were 91 murders. So far, there have been 89 for 2019.

At the beginning of the year, Dames said the goal for 2019 was to keep the count below 90.

He said yesterday that Hurricane Dorian required more resources be allocated to affected islands, but police are making New Providence a priority given the upcoming Christmas season.

“We have many police officers out there on the streets of New Providence,” he said.

“And this is coupled in with the work that our police and defense force officers are doing on the islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco, because we had to increase the numbers there as a result of Hurricane Dorian and persons looking to take that opportunity to take advantage of others.

“So, we had to increase numbers in all those areas significantly, but we recognize now coming into the holiday period that we cannot take our eyes off of New Providence.”

Dames lamented the fact that people who are charged with murder and armed robbery are being let out on bail and given the opportunity to commit more crimes.

“We have an element out there who are not going to do any better,” he said.

“You arrest them. You put them behind bars and they come back out on bail and they are determined to commit crimes. Police are zeroing in on those individuals, but until they catch them, they are out there and they are looking for opportunities.”

He added, “I don’t have the statistics before me, but we’re finding that quite a bit are [repeat offenders]. We’ve had homicides where people are on bail for homicide and committed homicides. I mean, you had some guys arrested for armed robbery the other day or a shooting and one was on bail for a murder. So, this is the context in which I speak.

“This is the environment that we’re dealing with, but I can assure members of the general public that the police are out there and they’re out there in large numbers and they will continue to do what they have to do to ensure that the good people of this nation are safe. And to those who are hell-bent on misbehaving, it’s just a matter of time before we get you off of the streets. And I make no apologies for that.”

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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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