NASSAU, Bahamas, September 21, 2009 - Violence resulting from what is being called the "triple threat" of the drug trade, retaliation and conflict has been blamed for more than half of the murders committed in the Bahamas so far this year.
National Security Minister Tommy Turnquest says that of the 59 murders recorded up to now, 11 were drug related, 10 were retaliation killings and 12 a result of conflict. The others occurred in situations of domestic violence and robbery.
"Looking at the analysis of the motives for the 59 murders, we recognise that 39 of them - 66 per cent - were as a result of circumstances that the police could not have prevented," he said.
The use of firearms also played a key role in many of murders committed so far. Guns were used to carry out 42 of the 59 killings.
The National Security Minister said it was against this backdrop that a Crime Reduction Strategy was launched three weeks ago.
"The Crime Reduction Strategy has a critical overarching objective which is to enhance public confidence in the police and thereby to reduce not only crime and criminality, but the fear of crime," he said.
"It will also target prolific offenders, particularly the emerging and dangerous breed of career criminals, with the objective of disrupting their operations and bringing them to justice for the offences they commit," Turnquest continued, adding that the strategy will also target problem areas and/or areas of concern, particularly the so-called "hot spots."
But he said that effective anti-crime strategies require much more than tough action by the police no matter how efficient that action is.
"In addition to the work of the law enforcement agencies, effective crime-fighting strategies require a country-wide response, from individuals, civic organizations, the Church and the community, including the business community," the National Security Minister said.
"We must not turn a blind eye to crime, whether it is drug trafficking, illegal gun possession, murder, robbery, the encouragement of illegal immigration, or general lawlessness."