|Crime up 16 percent|
Guardian Senior Reporter
Published: Aug 23, 2011
Minister of National Security Tommy Turnquest last night released new crime statistics that show that in the first seven months of 2011, crime overall was up 16 percent compared to the previous year.
Turnquest released the numbers in response to a Nassau Guardian headline story yesterday, detailing the police commissioner’s failure to make the statistics public weeks after repeated requests from The Guardian.
The numbers show that cases of murder, rape, attempted rape, armed robbery, robbery, housebreaking, stealing, stealing from vehicles and stolen vehicles all increased significantly from January 1 to July 31.
Murder was up 57 percent, according to the numbers.
There were 85 murders committed during that period compared to the 54 murders committed in the first seven months of 2010.
Reported rapes grew by 26 percent, with 67 rapes occurring in the first seven months, compared to the 53 rapes reported during the same period in 2010.
There were 11 percent more attempted rapes — 21 compared to 19.
Armed robberies increased by 14 percent.
There were 522 armed robberies in the first seven months of this year compared to 459 in the same period last year.
Robberies increased by 19 percent — from 175 to 208.
There were 22 attempted robberies committed during the first seven months of the year, an increase of 38 percent over the same period last year.
There were 1,908 housebreakings committed during the first seven months of the year, an increase of 12 percent over the same period last year.
There were 1,170 incidents of stealing reported during the first seven months of the year, an increase of 12 percent.
Stealing from vehicles saw the most dramatic increase of any major crime during the first seven months of the year, with police reporting a 97 percent spike in that category.
There were 1,386 incidents of stealing from vehicles reported during the first seven months of the year, compared to 705 cases during the same period last year.
There were 732 stolen vehicles reported during the first seven months of this year, an increase of seven percent.
There were also some categories of major crimes where decreases occurred.
Attempted murder was down 14 percent.
There were no instances of manslaughter during the first seven months of this year, compared to the single incident recorded during the first seven months of last year.
There were 101 incidents of unlawful sexual intercourse recorded between January and July, a decrease of 33 percent.
There were 193 burglaries, a decrease of nine percent.
There was a 23 percent decrease in the number of shopbreakings.
There were 577 reports of shopbreaking in the first seven months of 2011, compared to 748 incidents reported during the same period last year.
Yesterday evening, Turnquest acknowledged that it had been some time since the crime statistics were last released.
He said he does not believe in the suppression of public information.
“The one thing that I take exception to is (the suggestion) that my ministry is covering up crime statistics,” said Turnquest. “That’s the last thing I will be a party to. It is what it is, and much of it is a result of many of the social ills in the society that we have to deal with collectively.”
The minister also said he believes that crime statistics should be released in a regular and timely manner.
Speaking about the rise in most categories of violent crime during the first seven months of the year, Turnquest said the numbers indicate the severity of the problem.
“These are still preliminary figures. But they are useful in terms of providing a comparison in terms of the level of crime in The Bahamas today. And there are far too many serious crimes being committed wantonly by persons in The Bahamas today,” he said.
On how well police are responding to the rise in crime, Turnquest said that police “continue to do a good job” in that regard.
“They continue to apprehend many suspects (and) put them in front of the courts. And many of those suspects are given bail and are repeat offenders and that’s something that we have to continue to deal with,” he said, adding that the government is looking at legislative remedies to the problem.
Turnquest also said the gun court established earlier this year, has helped keep some prolific offenders behind bars.
“While that’s just magistrate’s court and can only [give sentences of up to] two years, at least we’re getting them off the streets for two years or so,” he remarked. “We’ve (also) had some success with regards to electronic monitoring and that’s going well.”
Turnquest said he hoped the closed circuit television monitoring program the government is preparing to launch in areas throughout New Providence, will be a useful tool in the fight against crime.