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“22% Murder Increase,” Says Dames

Dames - National Security

Dames - National SecurityMinister of National Security Marvin Dames said there are 66 murders for the year, which is a 22 per cent increase compared to the same time last year.

Minister Dames released those statistics during his contribution to the 2017/2018 Budget Communication debate in the House of Assembly on Monday.

“The murder count has exceeded 100 for each of the last five years,” Minister Dames said.  “In fact, in 2015, the country recorded 146 murders, the most in its history.”

Minister Dames said his ministry also noticed an inverse relationship between the murder rate and detection rates.

In other words, he pointed out, as murder rates have been increasing, detection rates have been decreasing.

“While the former administration touted a 26 per cent reduction in crime in 2016, right-minded Bahamians have long concluded that current crime levels are far too high in the first place,” he added.

Minister Dames noted the Free National Movement’s commitments to crime, which were articulated in its Manifesto and the Speech from the Throne.

The FNM’s commitments to crime included the following: a zero-tolerance approach to crime, increased police visibility, targeting of hotspots, focusing on prolific offenders, strengthening of police-community partnerships, the establishment of a Gun and Gang Unit, the establishment of an Anti-Corruption Unit, the establishment of a National Intelligence Agency, enforcement of Marco’s Law, and the establishment of a sex offenders register.

Minister Dames stated that firearms play a significant role in Bahamian crime challenges.

“For example, a new study indicates that during 2010-2015, 78 per cent of murder victims died as a result of gunshot wounds,” he said.  “The researchers also found that there were 906 shooting incidents during the same time period that did not result in death.  Findings also indicated that 2,566 firearms were taken off our streets during that time period.”

“In fact, 160 firearms and 4,154 rounds of ammunition have already been seized thus far this year, he added.  “While we commend the efforts of our law enforcement officers, criminals still do not find it difficult to get their hands on guns and commit more crimes with them.”

Minister Dames said the current state of the nation’s national security had not gone unnoticed by the international community.

“In a 2016 report by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), for example, its researchers noted that in The Bahamas, ‘…high levels of crime and violence have consistently risen during the past decade’,” He pointed out.  “Notwithstanding the scarcity of resources, we cannot afford to conduct business as usual.”

Minister Dames said his ministry would maximize the use of its collective law enforcement resources in such a way to yield the highest level of efficiency.

“We fully understand that there is a clear and present need to re-evaluate and re-focus our national security efforts in such a way that the people of The Bahamas can be assured of its productivity and effectiveness,” he said.

“Our armed forces will not operate in silos, but form one single seamless law enforcement bridge with cooperation and camaraderie as its hallmarks,” Minister Dames stated.

“Our agencies will understand that in order to be effective, each organization must work together, train together, share information, and not think that one is more important than the other.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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