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February: Firearms crimes set dangerous tone

In February, a man was shot multiple times in the arms and legs on North Shore Road in Devonshire (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Gun violence marred the second month of the year.

There were four firearms incidents in the space of 24 hours, all thought to be related, on February 3.

A 26-year-old man was shot several times near a bus stop on North Shore Road, Devonshire in the first incident.

He was hit in both arms and both legs after two men on a motorcycle drove up and opened fire.

Terrified residents of the area dived for cover after they heard the shots.

Later that day there were two incidents in the Khyber Heights Road area of Warwick.

Officers were called to a house on Scott's Lane South where “about five rounds” had been fired through a kitchen door.

Two brothers aged in their twenties were at home at the time and police at the scene learnt that a man had been shot at a short time earlier.

Commissioner of Police Stephen Corbishley said that a “significant number of investigative resources” had been deployed to investigate the shooting and police stepped up patrols.

Mr Corbishley added: “We’ve got to understand what the motivation is for this, what the fallout is for it, because it actually gives us opportunity to try and resolve, disrupt and prevent.”

A number of arrests were made over the incidents, including a 17-year-old boy, in connection with the Devonshire bus stop attack.

Police revealed that the four handguns used in the incidents were known to the service, as ballistic tests linked them to earlier gun crime.

Mr Corbishley said the force’s aim was to get those firearms off the streets.

A crackdown on antisocial behaviour started.

The Corporation of Hamilton helped by looking at ways it could remove obstacles in the City that allowed people to hide illegal activity.

A spokeswoman said: “We want to increase visibility in the areas that are affected.”

Police conducted a “walkabout” of Hamilton as part of an effort to create more engagement with the public.

But the gun violence went on, with a gunman shooting into a Pembroke residence on Happy Valley Road on February 17.

No injuries were reported.

The Budget Statement on February 21 revealed that the police would get their smallest budget for nine years after a $4 million cut.

Figures released statement showed that the amount allocated to the police for 2020-21 was $61.8 million, compared with $65.8 million the previous year.

The news came after Ben Smith, the Shadow Minister of National Security, raised fears about major cuts to the Bermuda Police Service budget.

Mr Smith said after the Budget Statement: “Officers I have spoken to say they are being increasingly tied up in administration and court appearances.

“Despite that, they are still working hard to catch the criminals, but I fear they are being stretched and risk suffering burnout.”

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Published December 31, 2020 at 7:55 am (Updated December 30, 2020 at 10:06 pm)

February: Firearms crimes set dangerous tone

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