St. Maarten Police detail changing face of crime

POSTED: 09/27/11 12:48 PM

St. Maarten – Though they’ve spotted a “definite decrease in crime in general” the Police Force of St. Maarten has observed an increase in “serious violent criminal acts.” This point was stressed in a presentation to Parliament by Head of the police’s Judicial Department Commissioner Denise Jacobs that included figures and comparisons from the first half of 2011 (January to June) versus the first half of 2010 (January to June).

“The serious forms of criminality (offences against human life and robberies with use of grave/ serious force) are on the rise and the lighter forms of criminality are declining,” Jacobs said.

National Alliance faction leader William Marlin caught the trend Jacobs was floating and said, “We can definitely see the shift in crime from one area to another.”

According to the presentation there have been 14 murders in 2011. Four of these murders have been solved, namely the torture and killing of Ludovic Guillevin – the chef from aboard the luxury yacht Cheetah Moon -, Fidel Louis – whose dead body was found behind Learning Unlimited Preparatory School -, Eduardo Nova Valdez – whose dead body was found on the Alexis Arnell Road (former Cake House) and the death of Anselm – who died from a head injury when the suspect threw several stones at him, while he threatened him with a machete. Even though Tiffany Reid’s father – R.R. – has been arrested and detained for her killing, the police have not yet listed it as solved. The other 10 murders – including the shooting that lead to Mark Deygoo’s death – are still being worked on.

Next to the murders the force is dealing with 208 violent offences. Just over a third of those (77) are serious ill treatments or threats with a weapon. The largest single issue in terms of numbers is armed robberies (121) and the smallest in terms of numbers are rapes (10).

Police believe the 20 percent decline in burglaries/home invasions is because of the invasion/burglary team within the force and because the Forensics Department has been beefed up. There were 345 home invasions/burglaries in the first half of 2010, but that fell to 275 in the first half of 2011.

Even though the robbery team has been able to make more arrests police have still seen a 14 percent increase in robberies in the review period. There were 106 robberies in the first half of 2010 and 121 robberies in the second half of 2011.

“Other circumstances influence the amount of robberies, like the increased gold value, more demand from jewelers and pawnshops, businesses not following closing times and not investing in prevention measures,” Roberts said.

Theft is down 15 percent in the review period having gone from 229 in 2010 to 198 in 2011. Car Thefts are also down 15 percent in the review period having gone from 123 in 2010 to 107 in 2011. Police believe their arrest of two groups who were conducting violent crimes and stealing cars every day is the reason for the decline.

Severe ill-treatment, with a weapon and simple ill-treatment dropped by 19 percent in the review period going from 137 cases in 2010 to 110 cases in 2011.

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