Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin made the claim at the recentNATION Talkback town hall meeting at the Lester Vaughan School that the crime rate in Barbados was relatively low when compared with international jurisdictions like the United States and Britain.

To make his case, he cited the statistic that a crime was committed in the United States every 14.6 seconds, in Britain every 37 seconds, and in Barbados every four and a half hours.

Immediately it seemed curious that crime/time would be a measure that would be cited when a much more reliable number would be crimes per capita (that is, the size of the population). So I did some quick research, which shows that the estimated United States population is 281.5 million whereas the Barbados population is estimated at 286 700.

If a crime is committed every 14.6 seconds in America, that’s about 216 100 crimes a year, which works out to be about 0.77 crimes (less than one) per thousand people per year.

In Barbados, with a crime committed every four and a half hours (1 620 seconds), that is about 1 948 crimes a year, which works out to be 6.8 crimes per thousand people per year.

So in fact, the crime rate in this country is about 8.85 times higher than in the United States.

Put another way, if the United States had our population and maintained its crime rate, an offence would be committed every 40 hours. On the other hand, if Barbados had the population of the United States and we maintained our same crime rate, then an offence would be committed every 1.65 seconds. That is alarming!

The point here is to make sure that we do not try to rest on our non-existent laurels. Crime in this country, and across the Caribbean, is way out of control.

We should not be hiding behind spurious statistics and lulling ourselves into a false sense of security.

Let’s deal with the facts, and with the crime.