Bahamas Murder Rate Tops US
Police have long said that most murders in the Bahamas stem from the inability of Bahamians to resolve conflicts in a reasonable manner.
The Bahamas' murder rate over the past 12 years was higher than the United States and about three times as high as Canada's, a study has revealed.
However, the country had a higher average detection rate than the US. And while almost 70 per cent of murders were solved, (only) about 37 per cent of persons charged with murder were convicted.
These facts were released in a new book published by the Royal Bahamas Police Force entitled: Homicide in the Bahamas, 1991-2003: a Descriptive Research Study.
The book, written by Corporal Chaswell Hanna, is an examination of murder incidents that occurred in the Bahamas between 1991 and 2003. It addresses the murder rate of the Bahamas in comparison to other regional countries as well as larger countries across the world. The information contained in the volume took two-and-a-half years to compile.
Most murders in the Bahamas occur during the weekend between the hours of 4pm and midnight and happen in the southern area of New Providence - the Bain and Grants Town communities. The weapon of choice for murders was the 9mm semi-automatic pistol.
Most murder suspects were single, unemployed males between the ages of 16 and 24 years with violent criminal records and, equally, most murder victims were single, unemployed males between the ages of 16 and 24.
Police have long said that most murders in the Bahamas stem from the inability of Bahamians to resolve conflicts in a reasonable manner. The statistics show this as most murder incidents stemmed from domestic arguments where 70 per cent of murder victims knew their assailants.
"This reveals that in our culture we are very sensitive (violent and unbalanced) people and you can look at someone the wrong way, you can say something to them in the wrong tone of voice and the result is, unfortunately, a homicide," said Mr Hanna.
The top three causes of murder, according to the study, were domestic issues, placed in three different' categories: Domestic A, Domestic B and Domestic C.
Domestic A homicides resulted from altercations concerning and arising out of family issues in and around the home, but not involving "significant others".
Domestic B homicides arose out of arguments concerning intimate relationships (husband/wife, boyfriend/girlfriend).
Domestic C homicides arose out of arguments, disputes and altercations concerning alternative lifestyles, including homosexuality.
The other top seven causes were:
5. Sexual assault
6. Arguments or fights
7. Gang related
8. Drug related
9. Revenge or retaliation for prior confrontations and
10. Undetermined - where no clear motivation could be identified.
The study is now available at the Chapter One Book Store, College of the Bahamas, and will be made available at other bookstores. The book can also be obtained at the Central Detective Unit.
By RUPERT MlSSICK Jr Chief Reporter