Basseterre, St. Kitts, January 16, 2018 (SKNIS): Preliminary statistics from the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force reflect significant decreases in major crimes in the federation over the past year, which has been a priority for law enforcement as outlined in the Six-Point Plan for the Reduction of Homicides and Violent Crimes 2015.
At a press conference on Tuesday (January 16) at the Police Training Complex, Commissioner of Police, Ian Queeley, said: “there were decreases in the number of Murder and Manslaughter Offences in 2017 from 31 in 2016 to 23 in 2017.” That corresponds to a 26 percent decline.
There were also decreases registered in the number of Shooting at with Intent Cases, which fell from 26 in 2016 to 17 in 2017 – a 35 percent drop; Attempted Murder offences totalled 37 in 2016 and fell to 28 in 2017 – a 24 percent decline. Additionally, there was a decrease in the number of incidents of Wounding with the Use of a Firearm, which was down by 20 percent, while the number of illegal firearms recovered by the police rose from 36 in 2016 to 47 in 2017 – a record number.
“It is also a point to note that of those 47 firearms that were removed from the streets, 38 of those are cases where persons were made answerable,” Commissioner Queeley said. “This again I say is commendable when viewed against the variety and caliber of weapons that we took off the streets. As you can see, our proactive enforcement led to an increase in some areas and therefore that is quite positive.”
The heightened police activity was explained as a primary reason for the increase in the number of crimes recorded in 2017. The numbers point to a rise of 203 cases or 12 percent in 2017, when compared to the same period in 2016. However, 116 of the 203 cases or 57 percent were a direct result of the police’s drug and firearm interdiction efforts.
A statistical report from the police indicated that there were increased cases of Malicious Damage last year, which represents a 26 percent increase over the same period in 2016. Similarly, robberies were up 42 percent over the same comparative period. Sexually-related crimes and break-ins were down by two percent respectively in 2017.
Commissioner Queeley encouraged residents to take advantage of government’s ongoing duty free allowances on security and surveillance systems that will enhance individual security protection.
The police commissioner reminded of the priority themes outlined in the Six-Point Plan, which are Targeted Operations; Crime-Prevention Strategies; Intelligence-led Policing; Collaboration with other Agencies; Engagement of Stakeholders; and Continuous Training and Improvement in Administration.
“The results are evident,” he stated. “Notwithstanding the successes, there were a number of hits and misses in 2017, but generally, we are confident that if we persist and stick to the plan we will continue to see [positive] results.”