Murders creep up

Murders in The Bahamas were up by nearly nine percent at the end of September 2019, compared to the same period last year.

The count had been steadily trending downward for nearly two years.

As of September 30, 2019, the end of the third quarter of the year, 76 people were murdered, compared to 70 between January and the end of September in 2018.

The most recent murder took place on Monday afternoon on New Providence, when a man was shot dead outside a business on Charles Saunders Highway, police said.

Minister of National Security Marvin Dames indicated earlier this year that the government was aiming to keep the murder tally at fewer than 90 in 2019.

Murders were down 26 percent for the first four months of 2019 compared to the same period in 2018.

Until August, the count had continued to show a decrease compared to last year, but September was a bloody month, with 11 people killed in 11 days. However, Dames said last week that while the armed services in The Bahamas continue to provide help to those residents and communities affected by Hurricane Dorian, there is “no open season” for crime.

Violent crimes, particularly murders, have plagued Bahamian communities – mainly on New Providence – in recent years.

The country experienced its lowest murder count in nine years in 2018, with 91 murders for the year, a 25 percent decrease compared to 2017, which saw 122 murders.

The government has committed to addressing the root causes of crime and pledged to develop target-based strategies and modernize the branches of law enforcement.

There were 61 murders in 2006; 78 in 2007; 73 in 2008; 85 in 2009; and 94 in 2010.

The murder count first hit 100 in 2011 with 127 murders, a record at the time.

In 2012 there were 111 murders; 119 in 2013; 122 in 2014; 146 in 2015, the highest recorded; and 111 in 2016.

On the one year anniversary of the Minnis administration’s general election win, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis touted the reduction in crime as the government’s biggest achievement at that point.

As murders continued to trend down near the end of last year, Minnis declared in December that Bahamians were no longer fearful of crime.

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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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