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Crime

Crime climbing, Budget support increasing while Police Commissioner seems in denial

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By Deandrea Hamilton &Dana Malcolm

Editorial Staff

 

#TurksandCaicos, June 15, 2022 – Despite a double-digit increase of 10 percent in overall crime and a 13 percent spike in serious crimes, Royal TCI Police Commissioner Trevor Botting maintains the rhetoric that the police have got crime “under control.”

The crime statistics for 2021-2022 were released on Monday; they measure the number of incidents recorded between April 2021 to March 2022; running concurrently with the country’s fiscal year.  It is a departure from previous years which counted crime and arrests over a calendar year.  This methodology was announced in 2021 as the new standard for the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police.

The increase in incredibly violent crimes against residents and visitors is especially concerning at a time when the Turks and Caicos is experiencing exponential growth, with investors listing it as one of the most desirable places in the region for investments. Real Estate and Tourism have recorded banner years in terms of arrivals and revenue, which has pushed government income to $391 million.

The police budget for the year 2022-2023 is $ 32.5 million, nearly half of the $ 67.3 million allocated for public order and safety. The figure shared during the May 2022 Budget communication  is an impressive $3 million higher than the 2021-2022 allocation; then at $29.4 million.

Botting’s rationale for stating the police have crime under control is linked to significant arrests he said.  Royal TCI Police have caught suspects who drove up the crime rate early in quarter four of this past year (January and February.)

In this January/February 2022 period, a spate of violent crimes was carried out against locals and tourists alike including shootings, a chopping, armed home or villa invasions, armed carjackings, parking lot and beach ambushes and store robberies.

In some cases people were shot at; at least a tourist and a little girl were hit by bullet.  Both, thankfully survived.

“Whilst overall crime and the number of serious crimes have risen by 10 percent and 13 percent respectively, the Turks and Caicos suffered a very significant surge in crime during January and February 2022. This surge accounted for 68 additional serious crimes when compared to the year before and in relation to overall crime, the same two months saw an additional 121 crimes when compared with January and February 2021.

We believe these additional crimes were carried out by a very small number of prolific offenders, offenders which are no longer active,” said Commissioner Botting.

Overall there were 1,738 crimes committed in the Turks and Caicos during the April 2021 to March 2022 period which is 157 more crimes than the 1,581 committed in the previous 12 months April 2020 to March 2021, causing the 10 percent increase.

For context, without the ‘68 additional serious crimes’ perpetrated during the January/February 2022 spike, there would have been a total of 1670 crimes in the 12-month period, an increase of 5 percent over the previous period regardless.

Additionally, the Police Commissioner did not give any details on the operations connected to these ‘prolific offenders’ and he did not say what he meant by them being no longer active.

Commissioner Botting did provide reasonably detailed statistics.

There were a total of 355 serious crimes, 42 more than the 313 recorded in the 12-month period before accounting for the 13 percent increase. This also puts the number of serious crimes 12 percent higher than the 5-year average of 315.

The number of burglaries held firm with the same 286 as the period before. There was a rise in aggravated burglaries with 19 more offenses than the year before, a total of 53.

It is important to note that the recent spate of robberies and car thefts in late May are not included in these statistics.

Another unsurprising rise was in Firearms Offences with an additional 37 crimes compared to the same period the year before.

There was no report on the gun amnesty in March and how many, if any firearms, were recovered from that effort.

The only reductions included in the report were a one percent reduction in the number of robberies and a 20 percent reduction in the number of murders. There were 20 people killed in 2020–2021 compared to 16 in this period.

The decrease in murder at least is cause for celebration, Commissioner Botting described it as ‘very welcome’ and said the police would be continuing with targeted operations throughout the year to get the figures down. He noted that while the police work hard other issues had to be tackled if they are to be successful in their crime-fighting efforts

“Whilst policing is at the forefront of crime prevention and detection through enforcement and the Officers and staff within the Force have worked very hard to tackle the surge in crime committed by prolific and dangerous criminals, the societal issues that are the causes of crime must be tackled to see a sustained reduction in crime, especially serious crime.”

Still the sense of urgency felt by Islanders seems to be absent for the Commissioner of Police.  Residents have openly stated, it is the longstanding secrecy about crimes which are happening, the ongoing negative advisory and warning about the safety of the destination which is so heavily tourism dependent by the US Department of Homeland Security, the low rate of crime detection and convictions and the high rate of individuals seemingly getting away with murder which creates the unshakable angst.

Bottom line a crime rate on the rise is simply not under control.

Caribbean News

138 illegals add to the over 900 migrants captured by TCI Joint Forces

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FILE PHOTO

#TurksandCaicos, June 25, 2022 – RTCIPF Marine Operations Centre and partners continue to work together to protect our borders and keep TCI secure.

During the evening of Wednesday 22nd June 2022 the RTCIPF Marine Operations Centre identified a target of interest and immediately started to track the vessel around 5 miles North West of Providenciales travelling at around 7 knots.

The operator immediately updated colleagues within the Royal Turks and Caicos Marine Branch who made their way to the location and intercepted a vessel containing irregular migrants. Following a delicate, coordinated operation with the necessary stabilization of the vessel which was unsafe, severely overcrowded and the occupants were without life vests, the RTCIPF Marine Unit was joined by a second RTCIPF Marine crew and a third vessel crewed with TCI Regiment to support the delicate operation.

The vessel was carefully offloaded at sea to ensure the safety of the occupants and then the boat was towed to South Dock where it arrived around 4:45am with a total of 138 persons, 98 males and 40 female including 1 juvenile, who were then taken into custody by the Immigration Department. One male needed immediate medical attention in relation to a leg injury sustained.

Superintendent Martyn Ball said, “Again working with partners we have safely intercepted another vessel that was desperately overcrowded, unsafe and risked the lives of those on board. It continues to demonstrate the professionalism and dedication of the RTCIPF Marine Unit, working together with colleagues in the Marine Operations Centre, TCI Regiment, TCI Immigration and Health to save lives and keep our borders here in the Turks and Caicos Islands safe.

In the last couple of months over 900 individuals on 9 dangerous and unseaworthy vessels have been intercepted here in the TCI.

I would appeal to anyone if you have any information relating to such activity that you call CrimeStoppers free and anonymously on 1-800-8477, not only will you be saving lives but also supporting our national security here in the Turks and Caicos Islands.”

 

Caption: FILE PHOTO

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Caribbean News

International joint forces seize $99 Million in Cocaine in Caribbean Sea

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

The US Coast Guard, and ships from the Netherlands made drug busts in the Caribbean Sea over the last few weeks resulting in a cumulative seizure of 5,237 pounds of cocaine.  The Coast Guard says the illegal narcotics which were offloaded at Base Miami Beach last Friday value $99 million.

The drugs were seized in the international waters of the Caribbean Sea by crews from: Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley, His Netherlands Majesty’s Ship Friesland, His Netherlands Majesty’s Ship Groningen.

Coast Guard Commanding officer of the Thetis, which transferred the drugs to the base in Miami, Justin Nadolny praised the partnership between themselves and the Netherlands which led to the massive seizure.

“Interdicting drug traffickers on the open ocean is challenging work and every interdiction is complex and unique,” he said. “This offload is a testament to the teamwork and devotion of every crew assigned to carry out this mission, and it showcases the strength of the valuable international partnerships united to combat transnational organized crime.  The fight against drug cartels in the Caribbean Sea requires unity of effort in all phases from detection, monitoring, and interdictions, to criminal prosecutions by international partners and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in districts across the nation.”
The Turks and Caicos also have an agreement with the US Coast Guard signed in recent months which allows for tighter partnerships between the two countries (and the Bahamas) in the fight against illegal migration and drug trafficking in the county’s waters.

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Africa

Child harvesting case ends with 35 rescued in Nigeria

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#Nigeria, June 25, 2022 – Thirty-five teenagers have been rescued from what Nigerian police are describing as a “baby factory”.

Police in Anambra say acting on intelligence they raided a hotel and discovered that the teens between 14 and 17 were being held by adults in a child abuse and baby trafficking ring.  Four of the girls were pregnant.  The Police arrested three persons and confiscated three pump action guns and 877 thousand Naira, which is equal to $2,117 USD.

One of the young women, with her face turned away from the camera, explained how she had ended up in the hotel.

“She [the hotel owner] lied to me that she is going to carry me to a house.  So when I came there I saw some people wearing short-short clothes.  She said that is the job that I’m going to do.  When I started crying the woman beat me”

The teen said the woman told her she would have to stay for 3 months to repay a debt.  Every Monday they would get some change to buy food but that was it.

Child harvesting is becoming a more and more serious problem in Nigeria, another ‘baby factory’ usually businesses posing as private medical clinics, orphanages, or even social welfare homes, was discovered just last July.  The ‘factories’ feed into the human trafficking industry and baby breeding is one of the most common crimes in Nigeria according to Human Rights Pulse a human rights volunteer agency that dissects various human rights issues around the world.

In a video released after the incident press officer, Ikenga Tochukwu pleaded with parents, “Always create a deliberate relationship with children or your wards, if these kids are properly guided, I do not believe they will fall prey to what we are seeing today.”

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