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Police release crime statistics for 2018 and 2019

Crime figures for 2019 and 2018 were released last night – after three-and-a-half years without reports.

The 2019 report released by Bermuda Police Service showed criminal offences at their second lowest level since comparable figures were given in 2000 and there were no murders recorded.

It was the first year without a murder since 2000.

But sex assaults and serious assaults were up compared to 2018.

Sex assaults jumped from 40 to 50 and serious assaults went up from 39 incidents to 42.

Crimes against the person, which involve physical harm or the threat of it, for 2019 also increased on the previous year – 741 incidents compared with 723.

But crimes against property, which include burglary and vandalism, declined in all six categories, with a total of 2,068 compared with 2,416 in 2018.

Firearms offences for both years held steady, with 36 recorded for each year.

The 36 firearms offences in 2018 continued a downward trend shown in the two previous years – 47 firearms offences in 2017 and 82 in 2016.

Crimes against the community, which include gun and weapon offences, went up in 2018 on the previous year.

There were 555 offences recorded against 413 in 2017 – an increase of 142.

Increases in the category came from antisocial behaviour, up to 398 from 276 incidents, and disorder offences, up to103 from 87 incidents.

The figures for the two years were posted on the police website about 9pm last night.

The figures were the first released since April 2018, when Michael DeSilva was the Commissioner of Police and the 2017 figures were issued.

Acting Commissioner of Police Darrin Simons (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

Mr DeSilva was succeeded by Stephen Corbishley in August 2018. There were no annual or quarterly crime statistics published during Mr Corbishley’s time in charge.

Acting Commissioner of Police Darrin Simons is scheduled to discuss the latest crime figures at a press conference on Tuesday and release statistics for last year.

A police spokesman said the BPS website contained year end crime statistics reports from 2009 to 2017.

The last quarterly crime statistics report on the website were from July 2014.

The spokesman said: “We used to do them quarterly. However, with less resourcing we changed to once per year.”

The Royal Gazette asked the service for the crime statistics for 2018 to date on October 6 – five days after Mr Corbishley’s surprise resignation was announced by Rena Lalgie, the Governor.

The spokesman said on October 7 that work was “nearing completion on the BPS official statistics report for the years 2018 and 2019”.

He added that the statistics would be published on the BPS website and released to the media in the week beginning October 11 – but they were not.

The spokesman said: “There is some delay in producing the 2020 report, as a result of the exigencies faced by the service due to competing demands and reduced staffing levels.

“Work on finalising those figures remains ongoing.

“With regard to the 2021 report, it would not be prudent to release any details at this point, as those figures remain in a state of flux, given that the year has not yet ended.”

The Gazette asked the BPS why there had been such a long delay in the release of crime statistics and why there had been no annual reports in recent times.

The annual reports – as distinct from the crime statistics summaries – give details on the service’s activities in the previous year.

The most recent annual report on the BPS website is for 2007-2008.

The spokesman said he would provide a response to the queries by noon today.

The estimated budget for the police from the Ministry of National Security was $61.2 million for this financial year – a $6m decrease on the $67.2 million allocated in the 2017-2018 budget.

The reason for Mr Corbishley’s sudden departure remains a mystery.

Ms Lalgie and national security minister Renee Ming, the national security minister, have stayed tight-lipped in response to questions.

Neither responded to a query earlier this month on whether they viewed his tenure as a success and how they measured that.