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Stop Dickering and Get Tough on Crime

The Bahamas has one of the highest homicide rates in the region. There are about 26.6 homicides in this country per 100,000 population. The international standard strived for is five per 100,000. The United States was at this mark in 2009. Canada’s homicide rate in 2009 was 1.81.

The surge in killings in this country over the past two decades is significant. In 1991, 28 people were murdered in the country. This figure has more than tripled in 20 years and the population has not. The county’s population only grew by 19 percent from 1990 to 2000. The population grew 16.48 percent between 2000 and 2010, according to the Department of Statistics.

Our crime problem goes beyond homicides, however.

Police began recording armed robberies and robberies separately in 1994. According to police statistics, from 1994 to 2000 more than 1,000 armed robberies per year were recorded in five out of those seven years. The highest number of armed robberies recorded during that period was 1,326 in 1996. Over the last five years, armed robberies have trended up towards the highs of the mid-1990s. There were 548 armed robberies recorded in 2006. There were 919 armed robberies recorded in 2010 —the most since 1999 (1,024).

Robberies too were at their highest level (334) since 1999 (394).

In the property crime category the 2010 police report reveals other disturbing trends. The 3,120 housebreakings recorded were the most in the country since 1998 (3,165).

Some blame the media for over-reporting on crime. The data reveals quite clearly that there is a problem—a problem that if unfixed will make The Bahamas an unpleasant place to live in and to visit.

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