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St. Maarten police cites a ‘downward trend’ in crime for 2012

FRIDAY, 22 MARCH 2013

PHILIPSBURG–New measures to tackle crime such as the implementation of special police teams, community policing and improvement of response time at the police station have been cited by the police as the reason for a “downward trend” in crime in 2012 compared to 2011 and 2010.

Police Commissioner Carl John presented the crime statistics to the Central Committee of Parliament on Thursday. The meeting was the continuation of one with Justice Minister Roland Duncan and Justice officials that started in January on request of the United People’s (UP) party.

Capital offences have dropped by 25 per cent since 2010, which was deemed “quite impressive” by police.

Burglaries have dropped by 50 per cent. There were 112 burglary cases reported in 2012. It was 128 on 2011 and 199 in 2010. A police anti-burglary team was put in place in 2011. The team uses tactical and forensic evidence and gathering of information on offenders of various burglaries. This has led to “more arrests and convictions.”

John pointed out that the statistics must be taken into account with “dark numbers” – cases that victims have not reported to the police. Also, he noted that the projections for 2013 were a little higher because the new measures were in place.

The “sudden” increase in homicides in 2011 led to the burglary team being put on temporary stop, as officers were needed for the murder investigations. When the murder cases were concluded, the anti-burglary team’s action was increased again in 2012. This led to the solving of 15 armed robberies committed in St. Peters.

There was an increase in reported car burglaries (250) in 2012 compared to 225 in 2011 and 286 in 2010. Car theft numbers were 253 in 2010, 215 in 2011 and 183 in 2012. A criminal group was arrested and charged for a large number of burglaries and car thefts at the end of 2010 during a murder investigation.

General theft cases numbered 462 in 2010, 453 in 2011 and 249 in 2012.

There were 238 robberies in 2010, 296 in 2011 and 199 in 2012.

House break-ins numbered 667 in 2010, 519 in 2011 and 366 in 2012.

Chief Prosecutor Hans Mos commended the community policing and recommended that if people knew about crimes they should report these to the police. He also remarked that some cases of threat needed to be sorted through because of the practice in the community of people quickly saying “I’ll kill you” if there was an altercation.

The Prosecutor’s Office main priority area this year is the youth and to this end a youth prosecutor has been on staff for two months now. “A difference” with youth crime handling has been seen already, Mos said. Drug use by youth, in particular marijuana, especially school dropouts, is also a huge concern and will be tackled also.

Murder

Police credited the success of the “Vesuvius” investigation in 2011 as the reason for no homicides at the beginning of 2012. The police have “increasingly shown their ability to solve capital crime.”

Attempted manslaughter/murder cases numbered 12 in 2010, nine in 2011 and 11 in 2012 year.

There were seven cases of murder/manslaughter in 2010, 18 in 2011 and 10 in 2012.

Severe ill-treatment cases numbered eight in 2012, 12 in 2011 and 16 in 2010.

There were 58 cases of ill-treatment with a weapon in 2012, 71 in 2011 and 82 in 2012.

Police investigated 210 cases of ill-treatment in 2012, 148 in 2011 and 171 in 2010.

There were cases of threat in 2012 were 219, 187 in 2011 and 124 in 2010.

There were 10 cases of assault in 2012, 14 in 2011 and nine in 2010.

Sexual offences

Combating sex offences is “a perilous undertaking” for the police, as many cases start with an interview by a police specialist, but victims sometimes do not want to press charges or do not have the courage to continue with the case.

Of the 62 cases of various sexual crimes, only 31 resulted in an actual complaint, according to the police.

Four cases of sexual abuse were filed with the police in 2012. Six cases each were filed in 2011 and 2010.

There were four cases of non-consensual sex involving children under age 12 in 2012 and none in 2011 and 2010. Cases involving non-consensual sex with children ages 12-15 numbered six in 2012, one in 2011 and zero in 2010.

Police dealt with four cases of sexual assault in 2012, none in 2011 and three in 2010.

Thirteen cases of rape were reported in 2012 and eight each in 2011 and 2010.

Other Offences

Seven cases of arson were reported to the police in 2012, 16 in 2011 and five in 2010.

Six cases of embezzlement during employment were registered in 2012, four in 2011 and six in 2010. Cases of general embezzlement numbered 16 in 2012, six in 2011, 14 in 2010.

A total of 43 scams were reported in 2012, 20 in 2011 and eight in 2010.

Reported cases of destruction of property numbered 126 in 2012, 118 in 2011 and 173 in 2010. The police suggested that training and education for offenders was needed in addition to police intervention to decrease these numbers.

The Central Committee meeting was suspended on Thursday evening until further notice, because the broadcast on St. Maarten Cable TV would have been interrupted for other programming as of 7:00pm. After the presentations by the Justice officials, MPs posed a number of questions about tackling crime, improvement of the Justice system and workings of the police, and received answers.

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