Abaco Boaters Concerned About Boat Thefts
Police yesterday conceded that boat theft in the Abacos was a "concern," but insisted crime on the island chain was under control.
On Tuesday, Abaco Chamber of Commerce President Michael Albury warned that a sharp rise in boat theft, burglaries and robberies across the Abacos over the last two years was threatening the island chain's second home industry, which is a mainstay of its economy.
"We do have some concern over boats stolen in Abaco, but I do not know that there is a proliferation of stolen boats on any of the Family Islands for that matter," Assistant Commissioner Hulan Hanna said in response to Albury's warning. "From time to time you would have incidents of it, and I think that...because of the work [Abaco police] are doing...it has not been worse."
As for the charge of increased robberies and burglaries, Hanna said he was not in a position to site statistics, but added that police had performed well in detecting this type of crime.
"A lot of persons have been arraigned and brought to court in Abaco for these matters over the years," he told The Nassau Guardian. "So, while there is the reality that you have break-ins, it has to be balanced with the fact that more than 50 percent â€” and that's being conservative â€” of those matters have been cleared up with persons being brought before the court."
However, Hanna, who is in charge of police on the Family Islands, said recidivism was an issue that compounded police efforts to combat burglaries and robberies.
"Invariably, when they have served their time, they come right back to the community," he explained. "Once they are back in their community, they may feel inclined to go back into crime again. And so, you may actually have recidivist-type people who are re-offending. And so, the police continue to have to go after these persons and put them before the courts repeatedly."
Hanna said island chains such as the Abacos, because of their widely dispersed nature, were difficult to provide an adequate compliment of manpower for. But he added: "If something is going on where we need to do a concerted police operation, all the resources are brought to bear, and we pull the resources out when those activities would have been identified. And so, we are very mindful of what is going on in those islands, and we try to take every step to correct things when we see them getting out of hand."
Hanna said: "By no stretch of the imagination is crime out of control in Abaco."
Meanwhile, he invited the chamber president and the Abaco business community to openly express concerns with police.
"We stand with our police in Abaco, but we also stand with the business community," he said. "And we want to keep all the lines of communication open."
By RAYMOND KONGWA
Nassau Guardian Senior Reporter