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St. Maarten crime figures for 2012 show decrease in murders, thefts

FRIDAY, 01 MARCH 2013

PHILIPSBURG–A total of ten manslaughter/murder cases were documented for 2012 compared to eighteen in 2011 according to the 2012 crime figures released by the St. Maarten Police Force Department, although 2012 saw an increase in attempted manslaughter/murder by two compared to 2011.

However, a decrease has been noted in attempted manslaughter/murder cases, with 12 listed in 2010, nine in 2011 and 11 in 2012.

Car theft, a very common criminal offence in St. Maarten, decreased by 70 cases in 2012 compared to 2010 which saw 253 cases, 2011 (215 cases) and 2012 (183 cases).

Home break-ins dropped the most – 301 – from 2010 which saw 667 cases, 2011 (519 cases) and 2012 (366 cases).

Auto break-ins also have dropped from 2010 with 286, 225 and 250 being recorded respectively over the three years (although an increase from 2011 to 2012 was noted).

Overall, thefts have decreased by 33 cases since 2010. Most robbery/theft offences have dropped by 25 per cent since 2010, according to the figures.

A burglary team was installed in 2011 that combined information, tactics and forensic evidence. This allowed groups of offenders to be linked to several burglaries, leading to more arrests and convictions, a statement sent along with the figures read. a criminal group was arrested during a murder investigation at the end of 2010 and was held responsible for a large number of car thefts and burglaries as well.

There were a large number of homicides in the criminal environment in 2011, which required a major effort by the staff that was also in charge of robbery investigations. This has led to delays in tackling robberies. The teams’ strength was increased in early 2012 so that robberies again could receive the necessary attention.

With regard to manslaughter/murder cases, 2012 saw a heightened occurrence with the infamous Vesuvius case where several persons were murdered under vengeful circumstances. This led to the arrest and imprisonment of several suspects.

The St. Maarten Police Force has shown its increasing ability to solve capital crime. The case of murdered American couple Michael and Thelma King in September 2012 was solved within a month, the statement read further.

Sexual offences are very difficult to quantify because many of these crimes take place in the domestic sphere and official reports are not filed quickly. Hesitation and fearfulness that exist within the society to expose these types of cases also interfere with accurate documentation, the statement explained.

The number of rape cases has increased by five since 2010 (eight cases). Only eight cases were reported last year as well. The figures for sex offences relate only to cases that officially have been filed. Out of 62 reports that were received, only 31 cases resulted in a formal’ complaint. Severe cases often occur in the (step)family atmosphere.

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