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Murders up 5.5% over 2018

The 2019 murder count of 96 was a 5.5 percent increase over the 2018 tally.

 The Bahamas 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.

Minister of National Security Marvin Dames indicated earlier this year that the government was hoping the 2019 count would be less than the previous year.

Speaking on the matter yesterday, Dames said he is relieved the count did not exceed 100. He said he expects better results in 2020 with the implementation of several initiatives.

“The numbers certainly went up by a few during 2019 compared to 2018,” Dames said.

“The good thing is that they have been able to keep the numbers under 100. Is that cause for celebration? Not at all. What it is really is a testament that we are headed in the right direction.

“As we move into 2020, we will begin to see all of those promises that we [made] now that all the contracts have been signed. We will now begin to see the installation of cameras, the installation of the MARCO Alert system, the operation of the drones.”

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. However, September was a particularly bloody month with 11 people killed in 11 days.

However, since October there have been fewer incidents.

There were two murders in November and four in December.

Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson attributed the spike in murders in September to police resources that were stretched thin as a result of Hurricane Dorian.

Ferguson said the storm changed the entire policing strategy, and noted that while police were on Abaco and Grand Bahama, people were “wreaking havoc” on New Providence.

Dames also identified Dorian as a significant challenge for law enforcement.

“You know, 2019 was expected to be a banner year,” he said.

“But, of course, sometimes you don’t control these natural occurrences and you don’t control how they impact on your human resources and your equipment and material resources.

“But this has certainly been a learning experience for us as a government and for our law enforcement agencies.”

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.

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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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