POLICE HANDLING CRIME
Sunday, December 15 2013
With 2014 fast approaching and the murder toll for this year so far standing at 382 as compared to 374 for the same period last year, it may surprise many to know that February was the bloodiest month for the year thus far.
With an astounding 46 murders over the span of 28 days, statistically, February had the most homicides for the past 347 days.
Over the past 14 days, with 16 murders, the month of December, with 17 more days to go, has had the lowest number of homicides for the year.
Outside of December, March had the lowest murder average with 18 murders over the course of 31 days.
Compare this to the statistics for 2012 where there was a total of 379 murders for the year.
Last year, the bloodiest month was in May, where there were 42 murders — four less than February this year.
However, in 2012, February and November both had the lowest numbers of reported homicides at 23 murders each — five more than March this year.
The 382 murder toll represents a steady increase in murders since 2011, which had 352 murders, and 2012 which had 379. Acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams at a recent Women’s Institute of Alternative Development (WINAD ) forum had projected 399 murders for the year.
Speaking to the Sunday Newsday in a telephone interview on Friday, Williams stressed that he had been making a projection and not a “prediction”.
“I am not looking forward to 399 murders,” he said, insisting that he was not “predicting crime “and it is unfair for him to be misquoted.:
On the 380 murders for the year so far, Williams said historically Trinidad and Tobago has had too many murders and the Police Service will do whatever possible to reduce the murder rate.
“We will use all our resources to have a positive effect on issue of violent crime in Trinidad and Tobago,” he said.
Williams also said for the majority of murders committed (more than 70 percent) the weapon of choice is a firearm and a very small number were domestic violence-related. He reiterated his position that TT was not a manufacturer of firearms and it was critical to secure the country’s borders and not allow illegal importation of firearms.
He noted it was not the responsibility of the Police Service to secure the points of entry, and it was of critical importance that officials address issues of border security, both sea and air.
Asked whether he was concerned by the heinous nature of murders this year, Williams said it was a continuation of last year and year before.
“What’s happening in violent crime, this brutal approach, what’s causing citizens over the many years to be so violent, goes beyond policing,” he observed. He said there were deeper societal issues to be addressed, noting that most of the murders, shootings and woundings were occurring in depressed communities along the East West Corridor.
“How can we improve the quality of life in those communities?” he asked.
Asked for his views on how the police handled the murders occurring this year, Williams suggested that a better question would relate to the effectiveness of the Police Service in managing the crime situation.
He said his response would be “very effective”, pointing to a 30 per cent reduction in serious crime in Trinidad and Tobago.
“Never in the history has the service recognised and realised that. (A) fantastic performance,” he said.
Williams also noted there has been a 33 per cent reduction in violent crimes - murders, shootings and woundings, rape, incest - and in this area as well “the police has been most successful in our history.”
He also noted a 21 percent reduction in fatal accidents and 16 per cent reduction in road accidents.