BVI News

Murder rate relatively low, but highest since 2008

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When 22-year-old Shaun Richards drew his last breath at Peebles Hospital last evening, his death pushed the Territory’s murder tally beyond a boundary it had not traveled in nearly 10 years.

The year 2008 was the last time the murder tally in any given year went above four.

But, with less than half of this year already gone, the relatively fast-moving murder rate now stands at five.

Responding to queries by BVI News Online, Information Officer at the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) Diane Drayton today declared: “In the year 2008, the Territory recorded nine murders. In no other year since 2008 have we recorded more than four murders.”

Meanwhile, the records show that, last year, four people were murdered in the British Virgin Islands (BVI).

One murder was recorded in the year 2013, according to Superintendent Alexis Charles. During a press briefing, Superintendent Charles also had stated that three murders were reported for each of the years 2012 and 2011.

Despite good reasons for heightened concern about the murder rate in the BVI, the Territory remains one of the safest places in the Caribbean.

The RVIPF, in the meantime, has been lamenting the reluctance of residents to come forward with information regarding crimes.

Following the death of Richards last evening, the leadership of the force issued another media release, again hoping that residents will break the silence.

“Police are making a special appeal for persons who saw a man dressed in dark-coloured clothing with a hoodie walking or running past the Stickett around 10pm on Saturday night [when Richards was shot] to contact the Major Crime Team directly at 368-5682,” the RVIPF said in a media release.

That media release issued today – like the one yesterday, further SAID: “Witnesses to Saturday night’s shooting [of Richards] in Long Look stated that a lone gunman walked up to the victim, who was at the time outside a home in Long Look, fired several shots, and fled in the direction of the Stickett. Police responded to information circulated through social media, and have interviewed one person. That person was released without charge. Investigations are ongoing.”

Meanwhile, the other persons murdered so far this year are Alston Penn, Franklyn Fahie, Jefferson Joseph, and Ashburn Dawson. Except for Penn, all of these persons were shot dead.

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