Crime in the Bahamas
Crime in the Bahamas
On the 6th April, 2011, shock waves were sent throughout the Bahamaland after the report of a brutal massacre of Nellie Brown-Cox. It is alleged that this crime was committed by her common law husband (Bahamas Press, 2011). This murder was a result of domestic violence, which is a crime that is committed among many residents in the Commonwealth of the Bahama Islands. Crime is ubiquitous, but can be alleviated if the necessary steps are applied. To further explain, certain aspects of crime can be evaluated by explaining the types of crimes, theories and reasons people commit crime, the effects of crime, and the solutions needed to minimize crime in the Bahamas. According to a definition used in a Civics class, crime is an act punishable by law, and within the Bahamas crimes are committed just about everyday. Though there are several different types of crime, the predominant ones in the Bahamas is robbery, domestic violence, sexual assault/rape, and murder. Firstly, robbery in the Bahamas is becoming increasingly popular lately especially with opening of the numerous Cash for Gold stores.
Many persons are being robbed by criminals of gold such as chains, bracelets, anklets etc. to trade them in for money. There are many different types of robbery such as; armed or aggravated robbery, carjacking, and highway robbery or mugging. Secondly, Domestic violence is another type of crime that is enormously common within the Bahamas. Domestic violence is any type of abuse against another person. This type of violence can occur among husband and wife, boyfriend and girlfriends etc with no regards to race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender. One of the most devastatingly gruesome exhibits of domestic violence was the murder of Nellie Brown. Her murder was listed as number #227 in the most gruesome slaughter since the murder of designer Harl Taylor (Bahamas Press, 2011). Many individuals have controversial remarks about her life and why her lover may have killed her, the act was uncalled for and no one has the right to hit another even if he/she did them wrong. There are many cases of abuse reported within the Bahamas today such as: physical, sexual, and economic abuse. Police officers are constantly patrolling different areas to deal with reported cases of abuse. This type of crime can occur between a man and woman, gays and lesbian couples of any race and age.
Many victims of this crime are married to their abusers and refuse to leave because of fear of what they will do.
“If it takes the form of sexual violence, it can involve forcing people to watch or act out pornography, the denial of contraception, non-consensual sexual contact or rape; if it takes the form of emotional abuse, it can involve name-calling, humiliation, threats, intimidation, isolation from friends or families, denial of basic needs or financial access, or passive control involving, for example, threats to self-harm or commit suicide” (Gibbons, 2011). Our major crime in the Bahamas is murder. These senseless killings are tearing our country apart. The country our fore-fathers work so hard to build, and to make a better life for the future generations. “Most murders stemmed from arguments between acquaintances” (Hanna, 2011) this is true to full extent.
There are many theories and reasons why Bahamians are committing crimes within the Bahamas. The theories why people commit crimes are biological or genetic, sociological and psychological. Many criminals are products of their environment. Many people commit crimes because of poverty, anger, addiction, gangs, bored or oblivious to the law. In today’s society many Bahamians are feeling the effects of the recession. Numerous individuals are losing their jobs, and those that are still working their wages are being cut tremendously. Large number of homes are being foreclosed and people are being left homeless. Many of them resort to crime to feed themselves or their families. Numerous people go through all sorts of struggles and trials and are unable to deal with their frustration. Anger can cause many people to do unintelligent things that they may regret later in life. Many people also are being killed through retaliation. This “eye for an eye” saga is growing rapidly within the Bahamas. In society many young people are recruited by older men and women to join a gang. There are numerous gang wars occurring in the Bahamas. Many days’ people break the law speeding through the streets, smoking ganja, having drag races on Sundays, turning without signaling etc. Some people do not mean to commit these offences but they are so preoccupied on the phone talking, texting or eating that they do not realize what they are doing or some people just do not care nor respect the law. Crime affects the Bahamas in several ways as a nation and a community.
From a social aspect, the Bahamas’ crime rates are deplorable and increasing highly. With such a high crime rate, our community spirit has deflated and the people are not as social or neighborly as they used to be. Many people who commit crimes are arrested and placed in prison. These criminals are dependent on taxpayers’ (national insurance) money which is provided by the labor force including teachers, bankers, and other government officials. This money can be used to refurbish schools, government offices etc. Our main industry Tourism is affected by high crime rates. It can discourage visitors from coming here because of the fear of being attacked or robbed. On the 20th November, 2009, eighteen tourists were robbed at gun-point while on a nature tour in Nassau, Bahamas (Tucker, 2010). This incident brought dreadful remarks about our country and our police department. This subsequently caused many tourists to change their minds about coming or ever returning to the Bahamas because of this unpleasant incident. Crime also influences the mindsets of our younger generation. They can grow to believe that committing crime is “cool” and an easy way to gain cash to supply their needs. Domestic violence, sexual assault and rape has a serious effect on many people’s live. Abusers do not understand the magnitude of this crime; they do not seem to realize that they are not only hurting the other person but also children if they are related in anyway.
Many children who grow up in this type of environment suffer from behavioral, social and emotional problems, neglect, and may be directly abused themselves. Children may eventually grow up and become abusers or the ones abused. Many of these children become violent, may commit a sexual assault or do drugs. Some children who are sexually assaulted may become confused about their sexuality, or traumatized by the incident and become gays or lesbians. These innocent children may even evolve into criminals if the necessary treatment is not taken advantage of. These abused (mothers) persons may decide to end their lives or the abuser’s life to be free from the abuse or any memory of it. Crime is a tremendously increasing problem within the Bahamas today. If it is not solved it will rupture the foundations our fore-fathers laid. To prevent these numerous crimes from occurring many steps our government and “we” the Bahamian people should take to minimize crime. Many Bahamians need to learn how to train their children to be respectable young men and women. Crime prevention starts from within the home. Now-a-days, children are disrespectful and rude, but their parents think it is “cute” and do not correct the problem with discipline. Many also grow up with the perception that stealing is “okay”.
They go into stores and steal treats such as candies, chips, gum etc. and parents do not reprimand them and tell them it is wrong and sometimes help them steal these products. When these children grow up, they become thieves because they think it is the way of life and that stealing is embedded in them because they have been doing it for so long! This may result in these children growing up to be menaces to society, or worse, becoming a guest of the government. Many Bahamians should keep a vigilant watch over their neighborhood and report any crime that took place to the police and agree to testify if needed. The government should also produce a witness protection law and agency for many witnesses of crimes. By forming this program, persons should not be afraid to come forward and testify because they are safe “in the arms of the law”. Criminals who are awaiting trial should be forced to wear an electronic monitoring device on them to track their whereabouts, mandate appropriate curfews to monitor that they are adhering to the rules and regulations authorized by the court. Churches and the community should be call upon to assist in fight against crime.
They should organize group sessions and activities to train young people how to become active in the community, teach them different skills and help in the rehabilitation of convicts. When children are busy in different extracurricular activities such as bands, Junior Achievement, Governor General Youth Awards etc., they will not have any spare time to get themselves into problems. There should also be jobs available for ex-convicts to make a living so they will not be tempted or feel forced to return to life of crime. The Bahamas should have a sexual predator’s registration list like our neighbors the USA. On the 3rd October, 2011, the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas made his address on Crime and vows that he will do his best to reduce the crime rate. The Firearm (Moratorium) Notice, 2011 states persons must return to the police, licensed or unlicensed firearm, and ammunition from October 5th, 2011 to November 3rd, 2011. Any person convicted of possession of a firearm after the date will be imprisoned for a minimum of four years. These new laws will help tremendously because criminals will fear going to jail for that long period of time as opposed to the old minimum of two years (Restoring Your Trust, 2011).
The Privy Council should be replaced and make our own Court of Appeals our final judicial authority. This law should be amended and a new law should be in place to bring back the death penalty which is needed in our country. They also should enforce harder penalties for offenders of domestic abuse and offer treatment so this crime can be precluded from occurring again. There should be mandatory treatment for children who grow up in homes where domestic violence is prominent so abusers and those abused will not grow up into abusers. Any person convicted of heinous crime such as murder of children should be sentenced to death. There should also be the formation of hotlines and crisis centers to deal with abused victims. From the dawn of time crimes were being committed, as in the bible Cain killed his brother Abel over a sacrifice. Envy is the main factor in crime, and is in many crimes taking place in the Bahamas. Though this vermin (Crime) eats away through our society it can be reduced and eventually stomped out. By understanding the types of crimes, theories and reasons why people commit crime, and effect of crime, then we can understand why the solutions listed are needed within our society today. This problem cannot be eradicated, but can be contained and reduced if the required steps are taken.
Contractor accused of slaughtering his girlfriend, Nellie Brown. (2011, April, 8). Bahamas Press. Retrieved from http://www.bahamaspress.com/2011/04/08/28065/ Gibbons, L. (2011). Dealing with the effect of domestic violence. Emergency Nurse, 19(4), 12-17. Hanna, C.A. (2011). Reducing murder in the Bahamas: A Strategic Plan Based on Empirical Research. Bahamas: Nassau. Restoring your trust. (2011, October, 3). National Address on Crime – Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIyVCMC3Q10
Tucker, J. (2010, May 31). The risk of tourist robbery in the Bahamas, Time Travel. Retrieved from http://www.time.com/time/travel/article/0,31542,1992105,00.html