Murder Statistics 2020

Data/information collated/prepared by

There were at least 42 murders in Barbados last year. Under normal circumstances, I publish murder stats on a monthly basis (I have data going back to 2017). However, COVID-19 analysis kept me busy for most of last year, and I quickly lost track of 2020 murders. This post remedies that and looks at all of 2020 in one article.

My data analysis consisted of five steps:

  1. Defining the question (or problem in this case) – The lack of detailed publicly available information on violent crime – murders in particular – in Barbados. This step also incudes identifying data sources.
  2. Collecting the data – This is probably the least exciting part of data analysis. For the murder statistics related to Barbados, this usually involves me monitoring the news (The Nation, Barbados Today, Loop Barbados, et cetera) for reports of murders. Observations are then entered into an Excel sheet under several headings (Name, Age, Address, Parish, et cetera). For 2020, I contracted out this step.
  3. Cleaning the data – This involved removing errors as well as unwanted data, filling in missing data, and bringing structure to the data (i.e., new or modifications to existing columns, typos, formatting, et cetera). This is where I also decided which records to count as part of the data analysis and which to disregard. This step is probably the most time consuming.
Read more HERE.

Figure 1: Barbados Murder Heatmap 2020 (click to enlarge).

19 thoughts on “Murder Statistics 2020

  1. I have seen it before, but yet I continue to be surprise at statistics for St Lucy.

    I am fully cognizant of the fact that a young man/woman growing up in St Lucy today would narrate a different experience to my own. Needless to say, I would not rush to contradict them. A word to the wise.

  2. @fortyacresandamule

    Good question. From my perspective (and I Am Not A Lawyer), when I use the word ‘murder’ it is not in the legal sense. I state this in my post. Murder is a type of homicide as you appear to suggest(?) in your comment.

    Furthermore, as you appear to suggest(?), murder, manslaughter, et cetera, are seperate and distinct terms, and terms of the legal persuasion and flavour.

    And if this is so, then it suggests, perhaps, that some sort of legal activity (suspects held, investigations, et cetera) ocurred since the killing (homicide), in order for a classification of murder, manslaughter et cetera to be assigned.

    Be that as it may, I do take and accept your point. Going forward, I may consider using the word ‘homicide’ instead of ‘murder.’ However, I am also mindful that The Media – whose reports I depend on – use the word ‘murder’ prior to there being any form of legal proceedings, charges being filed, et cetera, taking place, and prior to homicides being legally classified as ‘murders’ or something else.

    A possible ‘solution’ to this semantic, and legal, quagmire would be to simply follow up on these ‘homicides’ after a period of time to see if a person, or persons, were caught, and what they were eventually charged with (i.e., murder, manslaughter, et cetera).

    Your thoughts?

    Kind regards,

  3. Amit,

    Your effort is appreciated. On your last sentence, I expect that many would answer in a few seconds, that most of the murders relate to gang activity.

    Does this require deep thought, making that irresponsible? I do not think so. Look at the chart. Over 50% are in St.Michael. There we have areas such as the Orleans, the Pine, Brittons Hill etc.

    Apologies for the good folk who live in these areas, but we know that is where the hotspots are (John will like that word).

    The main thing, maybe unnecessary, that would add value to that chart, is population in each parish, to compare murders to population numbers.

    We may surmise, based purely on observation, that St. Michael also holds the highest population density, aside from just volume. Density can be as much of an issue, especially if accompanied by poverty.

    On homicide vs murder, yes, the correct term per your analysis is homicide, however, based on the last few years, I doubt that the categorisation difference really matters. Most of these are probably the same thing.

    We can leave the deep analysis of causation to the social scientists, but I expect that the average laymen may see a correlation with a worsening economic situation, increasing gang activity and lack of opportunity for the youth.

    This is probably where your summary comes in, to highlight that something really needs to be done to create opportunity, which mirrors our concern over economic activity.

  4. A possible ‘solution’ to this semantic, and legal, quagmire would be to simply follow up on these ‘homicides’ after a period of time to see if a person, or persons, were caught, and what they were eventually charged with (i.e., murder, manslaughter, et cetera).

    For clarity, that is the sentence that I was addressing.

  5. @Amit. Love your work and response. I only mention the above because a lot of jurisdictions use homicide as a broader category instead of murder itself. In the USA the FBI use the term intentional homicide for murder. Some countries even reduced their murder statistics by classifying some homicides as manslaughter. It would be nice if the data could be further disaggregated into motives or circumstances of the killings, relationship between victim and perpretrator etc. This might give a better perspective on the issue.

    Barbados needs to have a crime observatory that does yearly crime victimisation survey.

    • One would have expected with the spike in murders reported in 2019, it would have triggered serious analyses to inform the public and an action plan. If it has the blogmaster is none the wiser.

  6. When I look at the low number of murders, I start to wonder …

    Shouldn’t we then extend the lockdown for our natives forever? In the very, very past, there was also this system with passing permits and such … LOL.

    Of course, this should not apply to diplomats, expats and businessmen. Unlike the masses, they don’t kill anyone.

  7. Three of the homicides in St. Philip occurred in one household. Son of a dead criminal, his mother who was not a criminal but had him too young and with no support system and the hard ears ex-boyfriend of a daughter whom she took in after his parents threw him out. The other homicide was an ex-boyfriend issue in a relatively well-to-do family.

  8. For some comparison in 2020:
    Bahamas – 73 (down by 23%. POP 390000)
    Belize -102 ( down by 32. POP 400000 )
    T&T- 402 ( vs 538 in 2019. POP1.3 million )
    St Lucia- 55 ( vs 51 in 2019. POP 183000 )
    St Vincent- 30 ( POP 11000)
    Grenada 15* ( vs 16 2019. POP 111000)

  9. In Latin america, EL Salvador, the world champion for murder rate per capita for the longest time, had a miracle year in 2020. Homicide rate plunged by over 50% to 1322. The lowest in more than 20 years. Everybody, from the man on the street, security officials, policy makers, academia etc are all scratching their head trying to explain this phenomena. As a result, Jamaica has taken the top honors for 2020.

    For some other major cities, Toronto had 71 homicide for a city with 2.7 million. London, had 126 homicide in 2020 , 24 less than 2019 while LA and NY city comes in at 322 and 437 respectively. Both NY City and LA homicide rates were up over 30% for 2020.

  10. Toronto homicide statistic is unbelievable. It’s even more impressive when you considered the huge smuggling of guns from the USA into canada on a yearly basis. To give some perspective, Jamaica and Toronto population are about the same, yet Jamaica had at least 1330 murders in 2020. Let that sink in . Since the 1970s, a certain section of the Jamaican population is locked in a fierce bloody war among themselves. El Salvador has given me hope that one day Jamaica will find peace too.

    • So many indicators available to assess the well being of a society. Some here talk about the creativity of Jamaica compared to other countries in the region. There is a lot more to factor to fairly judge with violent crime being at the top of the list.

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