MARCH saw the fewest murders in any month for the past six years, acting Commissioner of Police (CoP) Stephen Williams, told Newsday yesterday.
Moreso, he attributed this success to the use of soldiers with police officers in joint patrols.
“You will have recognised that for the month of March we had the opposite to what we had in February in terms of violent crime,” said Williams. “We have had a major reduction in murders and shootings and other violent crime incidents, so that is what we achieved.”
Newsday asked why this drop in crime had occurred.
Williams replied, “Well it’s almost obvious. The police and the soldiers at the beginning of March went into a very high activity mode of policing, with our dominance by the area of Laventille where we were facing the highest number of murders for 2013. We dominated that area with the presence of police officers and soldiers patrolling, mobile and on foot. We have in fact increased the presence across the entire nation — all nine police divisions — with a clear, targeted strategy to reduce violent crime and it has worked up to now.”
Given the news reports that the number of murders this year exceeds those of last year, Newsday asked if more effort is still needed?
Williams replied, “Well that is obvious, because we had an extremely bad month in February when there were 45 murders. But the fantastic thing is that the month of March had 17 murders, a figure which we have not beat in Trinidad and Tobago — as low as 17 in any month — except for the three months when we had the State of Emergency when we had 15, 13 and 16 murders for September, October and November.”
“They have no other month within the last six years where you had 17 or a figure close to 17 murders. So that is significant. I hope you could report that.”
Newsday asked if the past month’s success in using soldiers to fight crime would boost the chances of the bill to precept soldiers being debated in the Senate today, the Miscellaneous Provisions (Defence and Police Complaints) Bill 2013?
Williams replied, “Well for me the issue around the passage of that bill is really a political issue, and one which will be determined by the various political parties. Based on the outcome of the decision, I will carry out whatever is the legal mandate and that is my role.
“I’m looking at what is the outcome of the Senate debate and coming out of that I will know what I have to do by way of supportive action to implement the bill if it is passed, and if it is not passed well then I would also have to strategise around things that I would have to do from a policing perspective.”
Yesterday, the number of deaths for the first three months of the year was reportedly 100.