One in three southern crimes solved

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

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