Nevis experienced an overall decrease in crime for 2009, when compared to the previous year. However, Superintendent Samuel Seabrookes, head of the Nevis Police Division, said there is still a major concern with incidents of house break-ins, drugs and firearm offences on the island. These disclosures came when he gave a recent overview of the Nevis Division of the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force during the Seventh Annual Police Constables Appreciation Awards Ceremony at the Old Manor Hotel. According to the crime statistics presented By the senior police officer, there were a total of 358 cases reported in 2008, of which 164 – or 46 percent – were detected, while in 2009, 334 matters were reported, with 123 – or 37 percent – detected. Providing a breakdown of offences, he said that in 2008 there were 5 cases of murder, 24 of unlawful wounding, 77 drug-related cases, 10 robberies, 51 cases of larceny, and 55 reports of house break-ins. In 2009 there were 3 reported murders, 10 cases of unlawful wounding and 55 drug-related cases, 5 cases of robbery, 41cases of larceny, and 73 reported house break-ins. Mr. Seabrookes noted that in 2008, a total of 7 firearms were removed from the streets. That figure increased to 9 in the following year. A total of 261 traffic accidents were reported in 2008, 3 of which were fatal, and 13 that resulted in serious injuries. In 2009, 257 reported cases occurred with no fatalities, but 8 resulted in serious injuries. Reckless driving was the main cause for the accidents, followed By the avoidance of stray animals. During his presentation, Mr. Seabrookes urged the Nevisian community to relay any information that could assist in solving crimes. He posited that given the limitations faced By small island nations like St. Kitts and Nevis, the rate of success in crime fighting could not be compared to bigger countries with greater available resources. “Our scarce resources leave us at a disadvantage,” he said. “Here is where we depend heavily on the community to assist in whatever way we can.” In the absence of those willing to pass on information or testify in court, the police have to turn to forensic science. According to Mr. Seabrookes, while DNA testing had been used in a number of successful cases, it is an expensive undertaking. “We use a private lab in Florida called ‘DNA International,’ ” he said. “A simple case can cost between US$10,000 and $15,000 for the examination plus, US$2,000 for each court appearance of the scientist to give evidence in a matter. This does not include air travel and accommodation.” Pointing out another aid in the fight against crime, Mr. Seabrookes revealed that a number of close circuit television cameras would be installed on the island, a development that, according to him, would greatly enhance the crime fighting capability of the Nevis police force.
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