27 FEBRUARY 2017
ST. EUSTATIUS–The 2016 crime report for St. Eustatius showed a decline in certain crimes, whereas other categories of crime increased last year, Local Chief of Basic Police Care Maurice van Velzen said.
The local Police Chief said that there are many factors that affect an increase or decrease in crime rates, but police deployment undeniably is an important factor. “I am proud because the crime figures show a continuation of the downward trend that started in 2015, he said during the press conference during which the crime figures were presented to the media. This downward trend, he said, does not apply to all types of crime. There are certain types of crimes that show an increase. Along with all other partners in the crime-fighting chain, KPCN will pay special attention to these types of crimes in order to reverse the increasing trend, he said.
The number of violent crimes, sexual offences and traffic accidents increased on Statia, but all forms of property crime decreased. Commercial burglaries decreased by 50 per cent and domestic burglaries by 40 per cent. Drug-related crimes were halved.
The largest number of violent crimes were committed in November (8), January (7) and February (6). In the remaining months violent crimes averaged at two to three crimes per month in 2016.
There were 48 violent crimes committed during 2016, among which were 12 cases of battery, 13 threats, eight sexual offences, four cases of domestic violence, and three cases of attempted murder. The other violent offenses consisted of two cases of robbery at a commercial building, two cases of street theft, and two cases of public violence, as well as one robbery at a home and one case of battery with a weapon.
The number of drug-related cases was halved compared to 2015. In total there were 49 so-called “property crimes” committed last year at an average of one to six per month. The most property crimes were committed in January 2016 – 13.
The 49 property crimes were divided into domestic burglary (8), commercial burglary (12), vandalism (3), embezzlement (3) motor-vehicle theft (2) and 18 unspecified cases.
In total, the number of property crimes decreased in all areas, with the number of business burglaries even halved. Property crimes make up the largest share of crimes on Statia, with the top three property crimes being home and commercial burglaries, vandalism and theft of money, phones et cetera.
The majority of traffic accidents on Statia took place in April (6), March and December (both 5), and in May and July (4), Van Velzen said. Only October recorded no road accident.
The number of traffic accidents saw a significant increase in comparison to 2015. This increase is noticeable on all three islands, he said. The Police Chief said that the public should be educated more on safety regulations on the streets.
Van Velzen said the fact that Bonaire and Statia are about 900 kilometres apart is posing communicational and logistical challenges to the force, which after the dismantling of the Police Force of the Netherlands Antilles on 10-10-10 is still 11 full-time jobs short. “It takes time to recruit and train new co-workers. It is our ambition to have the Corps at full strength by 2019,” he said.
Source: The Daily Herald, St. Maarten