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Murders, robberies, sex crimes all up

Though overall serious crimes decreased by two percent throughout The Bahamas last year, crimes against the person increased by 23 percent, driven by a rise in murders, sex crimes and armed robberies, Commissioner of Police Clayton Fernander reported on Friday.

There were 128 murders, an eight percent increase over 2021.

Fernander said 113 of the murders took place on New Providence, eight on Grand Bahama, four on Abaco, one on Andros, one on Eleuthera and one on Exuma.

Two of the victims were foreigners.

Police reported that they solved 86 of these murders (69 percent detection).

“Based on our investigations in these matters, 35 suspects [who] were on bail committed murders,” Fernander said.

Thirty-four victims were killed while on bail; 30 victims were being electronically monitored; 46 victims were known to police.

Firearms were used in most of the cases with the key motives being retaliation, gang violence and conflict, Fernander said.

“We want to prevent these matters from happening, and so we will continue to be present out there, but that is significant, that 69 percent [detection] rate,” he said.

“If the matter happens, we are on [it] and to be able to bring swift closure to these matters.”

Police reported 555 armed robberies, a 34 percent increase over 2021.

Fourteen involved tourists. Eighty-one percent of victims were males and 74 percent of them were under 45.

Firearms were used in 96 percent of the incidents, all suspects were males and 97 percent were under 45.

There were 55 rapes reported, a 15 percent increase over 2021.

Eight victims were tourists.

The majority of the reported rapes occurred at residences.

Thirty-nine percent of the alleged victims knew their reported assailant.

There were also 139 reported cases of unlawful sex, an 11 percent increase over 2021.

Ninety percent of the alleged victims knew their reported assailant. Sixty-one percent of alleged victims were between ages 14 and 16.

Fernander appealed to parents and guardians to monitor children on social media.

He also sent a “strong message” to men who continue to prey on minors.

“Stop now,” Fernander warned. “Stop now. If you do [continue], we will find you and you will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. That is a no-no.”

Police reported that they confiscated 370 illegal firearms, 5,506 rounds of ammunition, and made 190 arrests in 2022.