#Providenciales, Turks and Caicos – Tuesday, May 1, 2017 – For the third straight year crime statistics reveal there is a double digit drop in the number of crimes recorded by the Turks and Caicos Islands Police for the country; a 32% cumulative reduction says Police Commissioner, James Smith, in evaluating the past three years.
The 2017 figures indicate a 14% drop in reports of crime, with the murder rate also decreased with four murders recorded in 2017, versus seven charged for 2016. Burglaries, had the biggest drop of the crime categories in focus; plummeting by a major 47% when compared to 2016.
Still, 2017 was a year saddled with the most shocking crimes the Turks and Caicos Islands has ever seen; at least three sensational cases involving guests to the country being shot in armed robberies in Providenciales.
Two of those shootings – involving a man on a dream vacation with his family and the other, a high profile attorney from Washington DC who was attacked in a luxury villa – were so horrendous that they made news headlines across the United States, including on major networks and TV shows.
The spate of senseless attacks targeting tourists brought public outrage, activated business organisations like the Hotel and Tourism Association and the Chamber of Commerce to double down on demands for crime fighting help including CCTV, spawned a damage control media campaign by the Ministry of Tourism, drew urgent consultation from the FCO of the United Kingdom and still, disappointingly the events elicited a travel alert, issued, by the United States Department of Homeland Security warning Americans about safety in the Turks and Caicos.
The TCI, which attracts around 80% of its guests from the United States, remains however on the list of one of the safest countries in the region and in the world.
Commissioner Smith, joined by Senior offices shared highlights from the raw data and media learned that more victims of crime will see more of their cases make it to court, signaling that the detection rate was more satisfactory this year, though no percentage was issued. Robberies were also reported as down by 11%, with an average daily of six crimes across the islands.
Drug arrests also experienced a dip, slightly; but the Commissioner warned that it was not an indication that illicit drugs on the streets was reduced.
Police are still challenged by the illegal sloop landings, mainly from nearby Haiti and the proliferation of illegal merchandise including guns. Among the few areas where the country experienced a spike in crime was in the category of firearms crimes; up 8% said the Commissioner or 11 more incidents reported in 2017 than in 2016.