The rate of overall crime in Barbados is up.
But Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin told a news conference this morning at his Roebuck Street, Bridgetown headquarters, that violent crime was down.
In his year-end review, Dottin revealed that all reported crimes had gone up by two per cent, an increase he considered to be marginal. Breaking down the various major categories of crime, he said 21 murders had been reported to date, six fewer than last year.
On a per capita basis, he indicated, this amounted to eight per 100,000 for Barbados. This compared with regional statistics that average 30 murders per 100,000 person.
“In 2012, murders were 21 and in 2011, there were 27,” the top cop reported.
Dottin announced that 18 out of the 21 homicides had been solved, giving an 85 per cent clearance. He noted that “good progress” was being made on the other three unsolved murders.
Of significance to him, was that six of the murders were committed by guns. In fact, the commissioner reported that there had been no great increase in firearm-related crime during the year.
However, he expressed concern about the challenges the force was facing with property or predatory crime, such as robbery, burglary and theft from the person.
He provided statistics which showed that last year there were 471 robberies, compared to 596 this year. Residential burglaries also went up – 1,441 in 2011 and 1,497 this year. Sexual assault, on the other hand, dropped from 70 cases last year, to 57 up to November this year.
A closer examination of firearms-enabled crime, added the police chief, indicated that eight out of 10 murders were committed using guns.
For example, he observed, 14 firearms-related homicide were recorded in 2011, while this year, there were six. He said, as far as robbery was concerned, there were 93 last year and 108 this year.
Dottin told reporters that the main difficulties posed by property crimes had to do with the theft of cell phones and the cash for gold issue.
“I can say, that we have recently received some draft legislation for our comment from our ministry and I expect that once this legislation is put on the books that it would have some positive effect on the prevalence of this matter, the stealing of cash, the use of gold and so on, for crime,” declared the police commissioner.
He announced that 207 people had so far been arrested and charged for property crimes, including 180 persons under age 30. Dottin said that generally, this year was a satisfactory one with respect to law and order in Barbados. (EJ)††