In the height of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force recorded its highest-ever detection rate of crime in the territory.
Commissioner of Police Michael Matthews gave that indication during a recent My BVI radio show programme which was also aired on social media.
Matthews said the statistics were revealed at a recent National Security Council meeting which consisted of the Premier, the Deputy Premier, the governor and the attorney general.
He said: “We were talking about last year’s crime and what happened in the territory during 2020 where a good proportion of that year – eight to nine months – we were dealing with the pandemic and actually recorded [that] crime went down and went down quite considerably by about five percent and our detection rates went up.”
“We arrested and charged more individuals than we had done in previous years and in fact, I think we had one of our highest detection rates in the history of the force at one point,” he added.
Record seizure of firearms
The top cop further said 2020 also recorded the highest seizure of firearms in the territory — more than tripling the amount seized in 2019.
With those guns now off the street, he said he believes the seizure of the firearms will have a positive ripple effect in 2021.
“One of the figures that I spoke about to the Premier at the meeting was I said look last year, we seized 21 firearms off of the streets of Tortola and Virgin Gorda,” he said.
“Now just imagine for a minute what the crime rate might look like in 2021 had we not seized 21 firearms, for example, and they were out there in the hands of criminals. But we did and it was a record to our previous year in 2019 where we only seized six,” he added.
Despite the reasonably good year by the RVIPF in 2020, Commissioner Matthews said it was ultimately up to how the community perceives the BVI’s crime situation.
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