It is a strange, but nevertheless true socio-anthropological fact that you can learn a lot about a place, and its people by the types of crime its inhabitants commit. Just like any other activity humans engage in, crime, both of the simple and aberrant kind, becomes a historical snapshot, of a community, in time.

Crime tells a lot about character, economics, morals, laws, and attitudes. The nature of crime, during different periods in a nation’s history, can indicate development or degradation, movement, or stagnation, harmony, or quiet anarchy.

For the Bahamas, in 1942, we learn a few interesting things.

The media of the day was commenting quite forcefully on the government, and its lack of ability to come up with good leadership and economic policies to benefit the Colony. A lack of good governance was seen as a contributor to discontent and crime, especially on the most populated island of New Providence.

Rum was seen as a huge social ill, especially in poor negro communities. In 1942, alcohol was blamed for many things, including crime.

Good exports were supposedly being traded for alcohol, instead of needed goods like sugar.

The name Paradise Island wasn’t just pulled out of thin air. On Hog Island, in 1942, there was an area, a town, called Paradise Town.

In 1942, although it had been only one generation since automobiles were first landed in the Bahamas, the country already had serial offenders for various motoring offences. Charles Blatch who was convicted of driving furiously along the roads in Paradise Town, Hog Island, and injuring two people, had six previous convictions.

We learn that the offence of riding a bicycle without a light, at night, was a serious crime which could land you in jail for seven days.

And, Nassau had the classic American named Main Street as well.

Big Fight in Bain Town

Man was fighting woman, and woman was fighting man in the neighbourhoods of Kemp Road and East Street. Predominantly poorer areas of New Providence have long been plagued by various categories of violence. Overcrowding, substandard housing, and few available jobs, became the match which lit the fuse for domestic violence and crime.

Forging signatures to obtain £50. He said it was for the church.

Mount Carmel Baptist Church in 1942 seemed to be under the trusteeship of one main family, the Spence family. Of the six trustees of the church, four had the same last name, Spence. And of the four, one of them was so desperate for £50 that he forged a document, a cheque, to get it.

Magistrate to prostitute: ‘Miss, you can’t bribe two police constables with 4 shillings’

We don’t know the exact words the Magistrate told the serial prostitute when she appeared before him, undoubtedly though, he admonished about the pitfalls of her chosen career path.

Prostitution is the oldest profession they say. It seems that Louise Humes, with an incredible 17 previous convictions, had made it a career choice. Added to the charge of loitering for the purposes of soliciting prostitution, she was also fined for trying to bribe two constables with 4 shillings.

Attempting to seduce the police away from the performance of their legal duty was one thing, offering them only 4 little shillings must have been insulting. Poor Louis Humes was hauled off to jail immediately.

(The Nassau Daily Tribune, Wednesday July 8, 1942)