Murders are down, but a jump in the price of gold on the world market has been linked to an increase in robberies this year.
Commissioner of Police, Richard Boyce, said around February, officers noted the rise in the number of robberies and sought to find out why.
“What we noticed was persons had a great and big appetite for gold jewellery, and a spinoff from that, we found that persons were robbing persons and taking their gold jewellery away from them and it continued at a fast clip,” he said.
Boyce, who was speaking during a wide-ranging media conference at the headquarters of the Barbados Police Service on Thursday, said the the price of gold was about US $2 000 an ounce.
Criminals saw this as a means of getting quick cash, he explained, and having spotted those trends, the police service put patrols in place and deployed officers to the areas where these crimes were being committed.
Quoting comparative statistics on the same period last year, Boyce said there have been 88 robberies to 63. There have also been 38 aggravated burglaries – entering a building to commit theft while armed with a weapon – in comparison to 34 in 2022. And murders were at 12, five fewer.
The Commissioner admitted despite recognising the trends and having some success, they were unable to recover the gold, as it was also being melted.
“We were not able to hold on to this gold before it left the country and we all know gold is very, very easy to move around with. It is not bulky, and persons can easily ship this gold overseas, conceal it very easily and move from there. Transforming the appearance of the gold was something that we noticed and we took certain interventions to address that matter.”
In other categories, burglaries fell from 319 to 269, but commercial burglary increased from 65 to 85 cases; theft from persons from 28 to 36; guns seized from 40 to 41 and ammo from 532 to 733.
Overall, minor offences jumped from 2 601 to 2 809, and major offences rose slightly from 549 to 554. (SAT)
Full coverage of the Commissioner’s media conference in today’s Weekend Nation.