ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Antigua & Barbuda was one of the seven Caribbean countries surveyed in this year’s Caribbean Human Development Report, released Wednesday.
The other countries reviewed are Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, St Lucia, Suriname and Trinidad & Tobago.
The islands, referred to as the “Caribbean-7”, were selected for their diversity, in order to represent a variety in population size, geography, level of development and “character of the problem of insecurity”.
The statistics revealed that Antigua & Barbuda’s homicide rate was on the rise, fluctuating between 1990-2000.
The country was also determined to have the most dramatic increase in robberies, peaking in 2007.
The survey found that 22.4 per cent of Antiguans & Barbudans feared their homes would be broken into at night and 20.9 per cent feared being robbed at gunpoint.
In order to counteract these fears, 26.8 per cent kept a weapon in the home and 12.5 per cent travelled with a weapon at night.
The paradox is that Antigua & Barbuda had relatively low incidence of violent crime, however had high rates of property crime; while many of the other countries had high rates of violent crime, but had low rates of property crime.
Researchers cited that property crimes are often associated with “inequalities, especially relative poverty.”
However, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) notes that in the case of small countries such as Antigua & Barbuda, minor increases in occurrences of violence can have a dramatic effect on the per capita rates.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)