Crime statistics should be wake-up call to all

WITH over four decades of service to the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) under his belt, retired Deputy Police Commissioner Bertie Hinds says never before has he seen the level of violent criminal activity in Barbados that was recorded in January of this year.

Hinds, who is the managing director of BAH Consulting, was at the time giving some insight into the crime situation during a lecture held on Monday night, hosted by the Coleridge & Parry Alumni Association as part of its lecture series.

Speaking on the topic “The Drugs and Violent Crime Dynamic: The Drift Towards the Barbados Experience”, the consultant criminologist says it is his intention to share his knowledge with the public wherever possible and through his upcoming book “Policing a Dynamic Barbados”, which he said will soon be released.

According to Hinds: “What is happening in the criminal world is that there are a significant number of persons who are trying to redefine the morals and values of our society. And they are making every effort to do that. But we have to resist it.”

With nine murders and 12 related offences of serious bodily harm recorded, he said these stats should be a wake-up call for Barbadians. “That should tell you that the people who are committing these heinous crimes are savage and in some instances they are determined.

“What we are seeing here [is] that this outbreak of criminal violence in Barbados is unprecedented in this country. I’ve worked in the Police Force over 40 years and nothing like this has ever happened. So that is the statistic that the entire country has got to be careful of,” he reiterated.

Hinds brought additional statistical evidence dating back to 1976 to show why these figures are particularly worrying, since according to him the average murders per month for the last 32 years was two. Additionally, he noted that average murders for the last 32 years has been around 14.
He noted that back in 1986 the country reported ten murders, 1996, there were 15 murders. In 2006 the number jumped to 35 murders and 2016 there were 22 murders. Last year ended with 28. He pointed out that the 2019 is already one- third of the 2018 statistic. “So we have to pull this situation back in Barbados.

He drew reference to the impact of drugs over the years. Noting that back in 1970 only four persons were prosecuted for possession of drugs and two of the cases were dismissed at the court. “That gives an indication of what society was thinking,” he said adding that the drugs of today were not on the landscape, neither was the legislation. That figure moved up to 278 cases in 1986 and in 2016 that number reached 1 608 cases. He noted that the number of females included in drug use and trafficking also increased around that time and issued a word of caution that the frequency of women being linked to drugs is likely to increase.

Hinds attributed the increase in lawlessness to a number of factors including poor parenting, failure to instil good morals and values, peer pressure, and turf wars as some of the reasons behind the violent behaviour. He warned that persons who experiment with deviant behaviour will continue along that path unless they are intercepted.

“If you test the waters for deviant behaviour and you are not chastised, counselled, not brought back into the fold, you will try it again. That is why we have to start from an early age, one-and-a-half, two, three [years old]… an individual’s disposition is formed between one-and-a-half and three. It is at that stage that you have to try to mould the behaviours of these young people because it starts from there.”

He also suggested that by “fixing” the RBPF and the prison system, the workload of the courts will contract. “Because the court deals with hearing and determining cases. There are people on remand for eight years because there are too many cases in the system,” he lamented. (JH)

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