Report Ranks V.I. Homicide Rate Fourth in Caribbean

The U.S. Virgin Islands rated fourth in the Caribbean in 2013 in the number of homicides per 100,000 residents, according to a study by the Nassau Guardian in the Bahamas.

The report was researched and written by Guardian reporter Travis Cartwright-Carroll and said the island nation of St. Kitts & Nevis had the highest homicide rate in the region. With a population of 46,204, based on 2011 population figures, and 21 murders for 2013, St. Kitts & Nevis had a murder rate of 45.5 murders per 100,000 people.

Cartwright-Carroll compiled the 2013 figures by contacting the police forces and statistics departments in all 12 countries. He compared his finding for the Bahamas with figures from a 2010 UN United Nations report on global homicides and drug trafficking.

In the Guardian study, Jamaica’s homicide rate was second highest in the region. Its population of more than 2.7 million people and 1,197 murders for the year gave it an annual rate of 44.1 murders per 100,000 people.

The Bahamas ranked third among the 13 Caribbean countries surveyed. In 2013, according to the Guardian’s survey, with a population of 351,461 and 120 murders, it had a rate of 34.1 murders per 100,000 people. That was a sharp increase from 2010, when the Bahamas had the fifth highest murder rate among 15 Caribbean countries when it recorded 29 murders per 100,000 people, according to the UN study.

The Guardian study reported that the U.S. Virgin Islands had the fourth highest murder rate with 32.9 murders per 100,000. The U.S. Virgin Islands has a population of more than 100,000 and recorded 34 murders in 2013.

The UN study, "Global Study on Homicide 2011," did not have a figure for the territory. According to statistics tracked by the Source, the 34 homicides of 2013 was a sharp drop from previous years. The number of homicides in recent years was reported as 58 in 2010, 44 in 2011 and 59 in 2010.

In a recent interview, Police Commissioner Rodney F. Querrard credited cooperation from the entire community for the drastic reduction in the territory’s homicide rate.

Cartwright-Carroll noted that the numbers could change, as police in various nations have not yet released their final annual crime statistics, which are sometimes slightly modified.

According to the United Nations, the international homicide standard that countries seek to be at or under is five per 100,000. Out of the 13 Caribbean countries surveyed by the Nassau newspaper, only the British Virgin Islands met that standard.

Other Caribbean countries surveyed by Cartwright-Carroll and their homicide rates were:

– Fifth: Trinidad and Tobago with 30.5 murders per 100,000;
– Sixth: St. Vincent and the Grenadines with 27.6 murders per 100,000;
– Seventh: Saint Lucia with 20.1;
– Eighth: Dominica with 16.8;
– Ninth: Anguilla with 14.8;
– 10th: Turks and Caicos Islands with 8.8;
– 11th: Barbados with 8.7;
– 12th: The Cayman Islands with 7.0;
– 13th: British Virgin Islands with 3.5.

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