Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson. File Photo: Terrel W Carey/Tribune Staff
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
CRIME in the first half of the year declined by 17 percent compared to the same period last year, Police Commissioner Anthony Ferguson said at a press conference yesterday.
The drop was bolstered by a 17 percent decline in murders as of June 30. There were 54 murders in the first half of 2018 but 45 in the same period this year, according to police figures.
However, since June 30, four more people have been killed in homicides, according to The Tribune’s records.
Rape cases declined by 37 percent, attempted rape by 56 percent, unlawful sexual intercourse by 11 percent, armed robbery by six percent, robbery by 26 percent, attempted robbery by 29 percent, burglary by 29 percent, housebreaking by 21 percent, shopbreaking by nine percent, stealing by 11 percent and stolen vehicles by 37 percent, the police stats show. There have been 24 rape cases, four attempted rape cases and 63 unlawful sexual intercourse cases for the first half of the year.
The commissioner credited the crime rate drop to people providing police with information and to “intentional operations by police.”
However, numerous people have survived gunshot wounds from high-powered weapons this year. While Commissioner Ferguson did not provide statistics on non-fatal shootings, he admitted the figure “is not where we want them to be.”
“It is at an unacceptable level,” he said. “There are far too many guns on the street. If there is only one person injured from a shot or weapon, that is too much. If you take, for example, and you understand the amount of ammunition that one weapon can carry, and if you take one of those ammo to a number of persons, in some cases you can injure or kill up to 20 or 30 persons.
“While we may look at it as this amount of persons that were injured, the danger is the fear that someone can take a weapon and you will see any number of persons being injured. In the case of Montel Heights, those things are extremely, extremely dangerous.”
Fourteen people were wounded during a shooting incident at a party in Montel Heights in late June. In April six people were shot in Kemp Road during a single incident and five people were shot from an automatic weapon in the Montagu Beach area that month as well. In all three cases, the wounded survived.
Commissioner Ferguson said: “Despite the downward crime trend, there is the fear of crime, so the police are working assiduously to reduce this fear by increasing our visibility in communities and through intelligence-led operations.
“Today’s criminals are ruthless in committing criminal acts and often endanger the lives of innocent persons in the process. Therefore, it is vital that individuals be extremely cautious of the company they keep. I know this may sound simple but the reality is that ‘bad company corrupts good character’ and we are judged by the company we keep. On the other spectrum, keeping company with wise people can have a positive effect.”
The police chief said the Royal Bahamas Police Force has seized 4,664 pounds of marijuana through June 30 and arrested two people for having large numbers of prescription drugs. Traffic related deaths, he noted, have declined by 33 percent from last year, with 28 deaths so far this year. He added that 1,480 people have been ticketed for traffic violations.