Thirty-six percent of all serious crimes committed in the south Trinidad this year have been detected by police.
The statistics were revealed by Superintendent Yussuf Gaffar of the Southern Division while addressing media personnel at the weekly police press briefing in Port-of-Spain yesterday.
Describing it as a tremendous stride in reducing violent crime, Gaffar revealed that the division had aspired for a detection rate of 35 percent when it set its strategic plan for the year.
However, Gaffar is hoping for even better results for the remainder of the year.
"Increasing our detection rate restores the public confidence in our service, will boost the morale of our police officers who work tirelessly to solve crimes and will send a strong message to persons who intend to breach any of our laws," Gaffar said.
Gaffar spent a considerable time going through other statistics that showed improvements in his division, which covers Gasparillo, Princes Town, San Fernando, Marabella, Ste Madeliene and Tableland.
He stated that between January and September this year there were 52 murders in the division as compared to 59 for the same period, last year.
He revealed that there was a four percent reduction in woundings and shootings; a 32 percent reduction in stolen cars and an eight percent reduction in serious crime.
"These are major figures compared to previous years as we would usually experience increases around this time," Gaffar said.
Of the 753 illegal firearms that were seized throughout T&T during that period, 120 were recovered in the division.
"We, therefore, give great priority in not only recovering illegal firearm but doing proper investigations to ensure that we secure convictions to these persons and have them locked away from law-abiding citizens," he said.
The only increase was for robberies where there were 339 reports as compared to 324, last year.
Gaffar suggested that several anti-crime measures being employed by him and his colleagues led to the favourable statistics.
The measures included intelligence-driven exercises and a 13 percent increase in patrols of communities within the division.
Gaffar revealed that the division had noticed a spike in robberies where the victims were lured via Facebook. He said that his officers recently investigated a case where a man was arrested for robbing people who had responded to his used-car advertisement on Facebook.
"These types of crimes are being investigated and are relentlessly pursued to ensure that persons do not think about committing those acts," Gaffar said.
He also revealed that the division was also closely monitoring violence in schools.
Gaffar said two students of the Princes Town West Secondary School had been arrested and taken before the Children's Court over their role in an incident in September in which they stomped on the head of a fellow pupil.
"Our first method is prevention through community policing where we lecture to schools and ensure that students get the correct message and attitude towards schooling. This (court) is the last resort," Gaffar said as he noted that special care was taken in handling cases involving minors.
- by Derek Achong