Gun Crime in Bermuda – A Complete Guide
Ever since the early 1970s, guns have been banned in Bermuda. Today, only certain members of the police force have authorisation to use handguns.
But this ban wasn’t enough to keep guns off the streets and although the country is relatively safe for the thousands who holiday here, gang violence has created a criminal culture on parts of the island. This has led to gun crime becoming a common problem.
Let’s have a closer look at all you need to know about gun crime in Bermuda.
Gang-related gun crime
From 2009-2012, gang-related gun crime increased hugely in Bermuda. Gangs created a fear which spread throughout neighbourhoods as Bermudians were harassed in their own homes and communities. The intimidation became so bad that one particular area, Cambridge Road, was renamed by gang members as ‘Gun Alley.’
Confidence in the Bermuda Police Force was decreasing as gang violence increased. Ordinary citizens were creating community action groups (CAG) to support each other and their neighbourhoods.
From 2012 – 2022, there were 186 firearm-related incidents, every single one of them linked to gang-related activity.
What do the Bermuda Police Force say?
Assistant Commissioner of Police Antoine Daniels commented on the areas of the country where gun violence has increased.
“Much of the gun violence can be linked to the internal feuding within the Parkside gang”, he said. “However, there is still a disturbing trend of gun violence particularly within Pembroke, involving victims loosely linked to gangs, or otherwise involved in disputes for other reasons.”
He noted that previously gangs would sort out issues between them without any violence but “there seems to be a growing trend for these gang members to use guns to settle disputes.”
It’s worth noting that the gun crime in Bermuda is exclusively due to the gang culture. Shootings are targeted and usually happen in residential areas where the gangs frequent. It’s very unusual for a tourist to be caught up in gun crime, as either a witness or a victim.
Measures to tackle gun crime
The situation has been concerning enough for new legislation to be passed in the House of Assembly, making it a crime to “instruct someone to participate in unlawful gang activity.”
Local charity, Raleigh Bermuda, reported a worrying trend of parents grooming their own children to become gang members. The charity’s executive director commented that “recruitment is coming from within the family structure.”
In 2017, the government launched a plan to focus on tackling gang-related gun crime – forming a Gang Violence Reduction Team. Their purpose was to monitor, report and work to prevent gun crime and gang violence in Bermuda. The team works in schools with students who are at risk of being groomed to join the local gangs. Focusing on prevention, intervention and rehabilitation, the work of the team is an important resource in working to reduce shootings throughout the country.
In 2023, the Stop the Violence campaign joined the fight against the fear, crime and disruption brought to Bermuda’s communities too.
Helping your local community to stay safe
Nobody wants to see their neighbourhood affected by gun violence due to a minority of people. But there is support and help available for citizens through Crime Stoppers Bermuda.
If you have been a victim or witness to a crime, be assured that you can safely reach out for help. Crime Stoppers’ anonymous service allows you to report what you know in confidence. You will never be asked for your personal details and calls aren’t traced.
Simply call our confidential helpline on 800 – 8477 or complete our anonymous online form