With 90 murders recorded in 2018, The Bahamas has seen the lowest murder count since the 85 reported in 2009.

Murders decreased by 26 percent in 2018 compared to 2017 when there were 122 murders.

Police reported last year that while rape increased by 12 percent, murders, shootings, armed robberies and stolen vehicles saw significant decreases compared to 2017.

Minister of National Security Marvin Dames attributed the decrease to the police force’s adjustment of operational strategies.

During the budget debate last June, Dames said when the Free National Movement came to office Bahamians were tired of high murder rates and “demanded that this administration get to work”.

“We did,” he said. “We initiated and executed our short, medium and long-term goals in our crime plan. And while we are certainly not resting on our laurels, we are making inroads in reducing crime.”

There were 61 murders in 2006; 78 in 2007; 73 in 2008; 85 in 2009; and 94 in 2010.

The murder count first hit 100 in 2011 with 127 murders, a record at the time.

In 2012 there were 111 murders; 119 in 2013; 122 in 2014; 146 in 2015, the highest recorded; and 111 in 2016.

On the one year anniversary of the Minnis administration’s general election win, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis touted the reduction in crime as the government’s biggest achievement at that point.

Last September, he declared a war on crime following the murder of Inspector Carlis Blatch, aide-de-camp to the governor general, who was gunned down in front of his teenage daughter, just a few feet away from H.O. Nash Jr. High School.

As murders continued to trend down near the end of last year, Minnis declared in December 2018 that Bahamians were no longer fearful of crime.

“When you talk to the average Bahamian yesteryear, there was great fear of crime,” he said.

“They were fearful of coming out of their homes, fearful of driving around, etc. That fear has been relaxed. They are no longer fearful of crime; they’re no longer fearful of going to shopping centers, environment, etc. And we will even decrease that even further. I am greatly pleased and encouraged by what the police is doing.”

The government has committed to addressing the root causes of crime and pledged to develop target-based strategies, and modernize the branches of law enforcement using drones, body cameras, artificial intelligence and shot spotter technology.

Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson is expected to release the full crime statistics for 2018 as well as his 2019 policing plan next week. (Nassau Guardian)