The Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) has rated the island’s crime situation as relatively stable for the first quarter of 2017.
The first ever quarterly report on the crime situation in the country was delivered by Deputy Commissioner of Police, Edvin Martin and other high ranking members of the force at police headquarters on Fort George last Wednesday.
The Deputy Commissioner told reporters that there was a 10% increase in the number of cases reported to the police by the civilian population in the first quarter of 2017 when compared with the corresponding period in 2016.
There were 4466 reported cases so far in 2017 while in 2016, there were 4055 – 411 more cases being reported to the lawmen.
According to the Deputy Commissioner of Police, RGPF regards the crime situation as relatively stable given the nature of the crimes that took place.
“It is critical to highlight that the assertion of relatively stable environment is premise on the fact that from the 411 increased cases, 319 or 77% are offences relating to threats, threatening language, obscene language, insulting language and common assaults…” he said.
Deputy Commissioner Martin indicated that there was a decrease in homicides in Grenada for the quarter under review.
The island recorded three murders during the first quarter of 2016 and two for 2017.
However, he expressed concern over the increase in reported sexual offences on the island.
The senior police officer noted that there was an increase from the 77 registered in the first quarter of 2016 to 117 in 2017.
Deputy Commissioner Martin noted 57 of the 117 reported cases are related to indecent assault.
“As it relates to the said Indecent Assault Crimes, a 43-year-old male was charged with 21 counts of indecent assault. So, in effect, of the 57 Indecent Assault reports reported for 2017 and I might indicate that Indecent Assault was the highest number of reports within the group of sexual crimes – so of those 57 reports, 21 was committed by one individual against the same victims over a period of time,” he remarked.
The figures released by RGPF also showed an increase in incest cases and sex with persons under the age of 13.
Deputy Commissioner Martin disclosed that adults are the main perpetrators of such crimes.
“These reports move from three to 10 in the case of incest and nine to 18 in the case of sex with persons under the age of 13. While these numbers may appear small, they are significant to the RGPF given the potential impact that these crimes can have on the victims”, he said.
“Our data also suggest that adults are the main perpetrators of reported sexual crimes. For example, 20 of the offenders were found to be over the (age) of 30 – there is one actually at 55 and one at 76 and only six (were) found to be under the age of 20,” he added.
Martin who is considered as the Number Three ranking officer in the force identified stealing as one of the areas that saw an increase in the highest number of reported crimes.
He said: “Among this category of crimes we have seen small increases. Common stealing moved from 498 to 504, House Breaking and Stealing moved from 56 to 66 but within the category we have also noticed a few reductions – House Breaking moved from 91 to 84, and Stealing from a Dwelling House moved from 75 to 56.
“…From our analysis and in examining the circumstances of those crimes, (it) seems to suggest that the majority of that incidence occur as a result of victims creating the opportunity for those crimes by leaving valuable items unattended and failing to secure their property, vehicles and homes,” he added.
Deputy Commissioner Martin conceded that stealing continues to be one of the most difficult aspect of crime for the lawmen to solve.
“Stealing…generally you intend to find that you do not know who the perpetrator is, person commit acts of stealing and do not leave any trace behind. You have to find evidence to connect the individual back to the crime, so it makes it very difficult to solve.
“It depends on you getting a number of factors -DNA, fingerprints, leaving some trace behind, having a person who may have seen the person committing the act. So, you have to be able to collate a number of factors to prove the case…we may have suspicions but suspicions do not confirm a case…”.
The high-ranking police officer identified confidence in law enforcement as one of the factors that is responsible for persons making more crime reports to RGPF.
“We believe that the effect of increased advocacy and a reduction in societal stigma associated with some crimes may have fueled additional reporting particularly in the case of sexual crimes.
“We believe that effective investigation and increased confidence in law enforcement is also spurring a larger number of persons to bring reports forward even in minor cases and we also know that intensified operational activities by the police is producing more arrest for offences.
The next quarterly crime report from RGPF is expected in August.