PHILIPSBURG–St. Maarten’s crime rate went down in most categories in 2018 compared to both 2017 and 2016, according to figures released recently by the Justice Ministry. Instances of murder/manslaughter, robbery and car accidents decreased over the period, while car theft and road fatalities increased.
The crime figures released by the Justice Ministry covered 2011 to 2018. According to the ministry, the crime statistics for 2019 are not available yet.
According to the figures, nine cases of murder/manslaughter were recorded in 2018, one less than the 10 recorded in 2017. There were five cases in 2016. Attempted murder/manslaughter stood at 12 cases in 2016 and 15 cases in 2017. This dropped to eight cases in 2018.
There were 129 instances of robbery in 2016. This was roughly the same in 2017, with 125 instances. There were 49 cases of robbery in 2018, according to the figures. This represents a 62 per cent decrease in 2018 compared to 2016.
Home burglaries displayed a similar trend to robberies, with 146, 112 and 83 cases in 2016, 2017 and 2018, respectively. This is a 43 per cent decline from 2016 to 2018.
Road fatalities increased over the period 2016-2018, while the number of overall traffic accidents declined by 19.4 per cent. There were 385 traffic accidents in 2016, which accounted for 92 injuries and three deaths. The number of traffic accidents decreased to 328 in 2017 and 310 in 2018. There were 57 injuries and four road fatalities in 2017 and 41 injuries and five fatalities in 2018.
Hit-and-run incidents represented the lion’s share of St. Maarten’s traffic accidents, with 203 being recorded in each of 2016 and 2017. There were 170 such accidents in 2018.
In contrast to the overall trend, instances of car theft increased over the period. In 2016, almost 150 cars were reported stolen. This was roughly the same in 2017, when 157 cars were stolen. There were 204 instances of car theft in 2018, representing a 39.7 per cent increase compared to 2016.
More than 200 cases of mistreatment (in Dutch, “mishandeling”) were recorded in 2016. This dropped to 130 in 2018. Mistreatment with a weapon spiked in 2017, with 64 recorded cases, an addition of 26 when compared to 2016. There were a mere 12 instances of mistreatment with a weapon in 2018.
Other than car theft, the only crime category in which the numbers increased over the period was severe mistreatment (in Dutch, “zware mishandeling”). There were seven instances in 2016 and five in 2017. This jumped to 11 instances in 2018.
Arson was the only major crime category that had no recorded instances in 2018, after posting 13 cases in 2016.
Historic highs and lows
Since St. Maarten became an autonomous country in 2010, many crime categories had their highest figures posted in 2011. In that year, there were highs in murder/manslaughter (18), car accidents (448), road fatalities (7, tied with 2012), home burglaries (519), car theft (215), robberies (269), severe mistreatment (12), mistreatment with a weapon (71), and arson (16).
The most cases of attempted murder/manslaughter occurred in 2014, with 23. There were also 10 cases of murder/manslaughter in that year.
Record lows were recorded in six categories in 2018: attempted murder/manslaughter (8), arson (0), mistreatment with a weapon (12), home burglaries (83), robbery (49) and car accidents (310).
In 2013, there were record lows in hit-and-run accidents (122) and murder/manslaughter (3). The lowest incidence of road fatalities occurred in 2014, when only two persons were killed in traffic accidents.
Car theft was at its lowest in 2016 with 146 vehicles reported stolen, while mistreatment bottomed out in 2012 with 210 recorded cases.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/2018-figures-show-reduction-in-crime