In the wake of two recent gun murders, figures released by the Ministry of National Security today shows nearly a 45 percent drop in gun crimes in 2018.
Figures show there were 27 incidents involving guns last year or where a firearm recovered. There were 49 incidents in 2017, with another 82 in 2016.
There were three gun murders and injuries last year. That figure is down from nine in 2017 and another 14 the year before.
The figures also show a drop in serious assaults in 2018, down to 32 from the 37 logged the previous year and 46 the year before. But the number of arrests for violent crime went up to 24 last year, from 22 in 2017 and 2016.
In a lengthy update on anti-gang initiatives, National Security Minister Wayne Caines said Government will execute a “thorough, multi-pronged and disciplined plan” to combat gang violence.
“I have complete confidence in its success,” he added.
While noting that he valued the opinions of community activists, he said: “They do not have access to the overall ministerial plan, which includes the gang violence strategy, key goals, objectives, deliverables, and the matrix of accountability for the Gang Violence Reduction Team.”
He also said: “The implementation of this plan does not include responding to every comment made by the public.
“Our focus is as it should be — on the implementation of the solution for the betterment of Bermuda,” said Mr Caines.
Details were also provided on agencies working against gang violence, in addition to support services in schools for students considered at-risk.
Plans for the proposed Redemption Farm are “still in the development stages”, but the Minister said: “The therapeutic farming initiative will commence in 2019.”
That programme includes employment training and vocational skills.
The Minister also noted that there’s no fix and it won’t happen overnight.
But he said: “We are steadfast in our belief, that if we are to see an end to violence in Bermuda, our community must rise and play a part in the process.
“All churches, community clubs, fraternities, sororities, the LGBTQ community, and most importantly family — I challenge you all to step up and be part of the solution.
“Whether through mentorship, job training, big brothers and sisters or chatting with the men on the wall, everyone has the opportunity to tackle gun violence and it is our responsibility to do so.
“Through love and the strengthening of family ties, we must address past traumas and break the cycle of family dysfunction to help ensure the trend of antisocial behaviour does not continue with our children.”
The Minister concluded: “Lastly, our women cannot raise our children alone, we need a significant number of our men to step up and accept the responsibility of raising their sons and daughters.
“Together, we can end gun violence in Bermuda.
“Let’s stop assigning blame and start working together to change the lives of our most vulnerable citizens.”