“The fact that we had zero crime related deaths in 2019, and the fact that there has been a decrease of violence in our community in 2019 is in part a result of our singular focus on implementing programmes to reduce gang violence and anti-social behaviour as well as the dedicated efforts of the Gang Violence Reduction Team (GVRT), who continue to make positive influences with our at-risk population,” said the minister of National Security, the Hon. Wayne M. Caines JP, MP, following the recent announcement that 2019 was the first time in over 20 years that no homicides were recorded in Bermuda.
The start of 2020 greeted us with the welcome news that during 2019, Bermuda recorded no homicides. This is a testament of the hard work of all involved, particularly the Bermuda Police Service. So I take this opportunity to commend Police Commissioner Stephen Corbishley and the dedicated men and women of the Bermuda Police Service.
We have made significant progress in 10 years.
Ten years ago, Bermuda was facing a dire situation with multiple murders a year and rampant gang activity.
In fact, between 2009 and August 2017, Bermuda had recorded 34 murders. With Bermuda’s population of around 66,000 people and with a size of 21 square miles, that is a considerably high statistic.
During the height of our gun and gang violence era, we were facing a crisis.
Our court system was inundated and overwhelmed with criminal cases and it became common place to require personnel from our uniformed services to safeguard and protect our courts during high profile murder and assault cases.
It became common place for our hospital and prisons to be placed on lock-down to protect the staff and people inside of these institutions.
It became common place to see increased Police Officers on our streets. In some cases, some of these officers were armed.
These were unprecedented times for our Country.
Bermuda was facing international reputational risk as a result of ongoing gun and gang crime.
Our neighbourhoods were under siege.
Our people lived in fear.