THE NUMBER OF homicides in Barbados has decreased over the last five years, with 32 being recorded in 2010; 30 in 2011; 22 in 2012; 25 in 2013 and 21 in 2014.
In addition, the island continues to have one of the lowest murder rates in the Caribbean, with approximately 130 murders being recorded between 2000 and 2014, and an average of 9.7 murders being committed per 100 000 persons.
These were among the findings revealed during the release of an Updated Homicide Study by the Criminal Justice Research and Planning Unit (CJRPU) at Almond Bay yesterday morning.
However, senior research officer with the CJRPU, Kim Ramsay, said that statistics also showed that 42 per cent of all homicides were as a result of guns, a trend observed as far back as the early 1990s, and which continues to be the most common method used today.
She explained that in the 1980s, knives were the most popular weapon of choice for committing murder.
However, from 1992, guns became the popular method of committing murder, a factor that continues to increase, while the incidence of murders committed with the use of a knife continues to decline.
Statistics from the 2010 to 2014 study revealed that 42 per cent of all murders were committed with a gun; 29 per cent with knives; seven per cent through the use of a blunt object; and five per cent by arson.
In addition, four per cent of murders were caused by strangulation; three per cent by the use of a cutlass; two per cent by beatings; and another two per cent through unknown methods.
Ramsay further pointed out that of the 27 murders committed to date for 2015, more than half involved the use of a firearm.
“We do have a problem with firearms. We are at a crisis stage and it is because of the easy availability of firearms,” Ramsay indicated, adding that this phenomenon represented a worldwide trend.
The senior research officer also noted that “one off” arguments and burglaries were often the main circumstances related to murders being committed in the island, while approximately ten per cent were drug-related.
“Most disputes are related to some kind of conflict between one person and another. Ongoing feuds are those that are between groups of persons but not necessarily gang-related, so you may have a person in conflict with someone from another group and it escalates into violence,” she explained.
She added that most homicide victims were young adults, with one in three being between the ages of 20 and 29 years. That figure decreases to a quarter between the ages of 30 and 39, and declines further as the person gets older. However, the Royal Barbados Police Force came in for high praises, having solved 95 per cent of murders committed between 2010 and 2014. (BGIS)