Commissioner of Police Michael Matthews has said he believes the high number of curfew offences committed in the territory this year, may have a negative impact on tourism when it resumes.
He said 172 curfew offences were recorded up until May 1, which he said will skew the overall crime rate and present figures that may not reflect the reality of serious crime in the territory.
“When we get to the end of this calendar year and I have to report to the government and people on crime and how we’ve reacted to it … we’re actually going to add at least 172 additional offences on to our books that, if this curfew didn’t happen, we wouldn’t be registering,” the commissioner explained during a recent airing of the Honestly Speaking radio programme with host Claude Skelton Cline.
“When we start recovery, and I don’t know when government will be determining when our tourism product will be switched back on … But, whenever it comes … what we don’t want is for that [to be] the first thing the tourists look at. They’re going to go: isn’t that the place that crime went through the roof last summer?”
Push to have curfew offences categorized separately
The top cop then said he believes the curfew offences committed should be in a distinctive category of its own.
This way, when the 2020 crime report is published at the end of the year, residents and tourist alike will have a fair representation of crime in the BVI.
“I’ve even suggested to the National Security Council [that] perhaps we should, when we publish our data, keep that separate so the people aren’t misled by the figures. Otherwise, what you’re gonna see is a steep rise in crime recorded,” Matthews reasoned.
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