By Travis Cartwright-Carroll
Nassau Guardian Staff Reporter
NASSAU, Bahamas -- The Bahamas had the third highest murder rate among 13 Caribbean countries in 2013, according to a survey by The Nassau Guardian.
In 2011, The Bahamas had the fifth highest murder rate among 15 Caribbean countries in 2010 when it recorded 29 murders per 100,000 people.
According to The Guardian’s compilation, The Bahamas, with a population of 351,461, had 34.1 murders per 100,000 people (based on 2012 population figures).
The country recorded 120 murders in 2013.
However, police have not yet released their annual crime statistics, which sometimes include reclassifications that could lead to a modification of the figure.
St Kitts and Nevis, with a population of 46,204 (based on 2011 population figures), had the highest murder rate of the surveyed countries with 45.5 murders per 100,000 people. St Kitts and Nevis had 21 murders in 2013.
Jamaica, with a population of over 2.7 million, had the second highest murder rate with 44.1 murders per 100,000 people. Jamaica recorded 1,197 murders in 2013.
The US Virgin Islands had the fourth highest murder rate, with 32.9 murders per 100,000.
The US Virgin Islands has a population of over 100,000 and recorded 35 murders in 2013.
Trinidad and Tobago, which recorded 405 murders in 2013 and has a population of over 1.3 million, was fifth with 30.5 murders per 100,000.
St Vincent and the Grenadines (27 murders) was sixth with 27.6 murders per 100,000; Saint Lucia (34 murders) seventh with 20.1; Dominica (12 murders) eighth with 16.8; Anguilla (two murders) ninth with 14.8; the Turks and Caicos Islands (three murders) tenth with 8.8; Barbados (24 murders) 11th with 8.7; the Cayman Islands (four murders) 12th with 7.0 and the British Virgin Islands (one murder) 13th with 3.5.
According to the United Nations, the international homicide standard that countries seek to be at or under is five per 100,000.
Out of the 13 countries surveyed, only the BVI met that standard.
The Bahamas, like many of the countries surveyed, has had a fluctuating murder count over the years.
In 2010, there were 94 murders recorded in the country, a record at the time. The next year there were 127 murders, an all time high and in 2012 there were 111.
Jamaica has also seen a sporadic movement in murders over the years. In 2008, Jamaica recorded 1,619 murders; 1,683 in 2009; 1,445 in 2010; 1,133 in 2011 and 1,097 in 2012.
Dominica, which has a population of 71,293, has also had a steady rise in crime over the last few years. In 2008, Dominica had seven murders; 13 in 2009; 15 in 2010; six in 2012 and 12 in 2013.
The country whose population most resembles that of The Bahamas, Barbados, with a population of 277,000 people, has seen a low murder count in the last few years. In 2008, Barbados recorded 23 murders; 19 in 2009; 31 in 2010; 27 in 2011 and 21 in 2012.
Here at home the government has pledged a war on crime.
Last summer, there were 12 murders recorded in a 13-day period.
As the New Year approached, murders began to increase and in the last Friday of 2013 four people were shot dead and seven injured in a drive-by shooting in Fox Hill.
In the wake of the shooting, Prime Minister Perry Christie unveiled more than 20 initiatives Cabinet agreed to as part of the government’s effort to “escalate” the war on crime.
Chief among the initiatives are plans to increase police saturation patrols in crime hot spots and possibly reinstating the 12-hour shift for police officers.
The question of granting bail to those accused of serious offenses and debate over whether to resume capital punishment have also made headlines in recent weeks.
So far for the year there have been five homicides. Four have been classified as murders.
Republished with permission of the Nassau Guardian