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Police appeal for help to stem violent crime
Police officials have appealed for co-operation from residents of east Port-of-Spain to deal with an upsurge of violent crime in the area.
At a T&T Police Service (TTPS) town meeting at the Brian Lara Promenade in Port-of-Spain on Wednesday night, senior police officers noted that residents had not co-operated with police following a spate of recent murders.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Radcliffe Boxhill said: "We are continuing to try to bring harmony to the communities of east Port-of-Spain by pushing away with our initiative for peace, hope and reconciliation amongst the people of east Port-of-Spain. We cannot succeed in this initiative without the full participation of the members of the community."
East Dry River resident Wendell Scott, whose cousin was one of three victims of a drive-by shooting three weeks ago, asked about the outcome of previous anti-crime initiatives in the community. He said the current situation had him considering migrating.
"I am a law-abiding citizen who has never been inside a courthouse or a jail. I am living in St Paul Street and can't go over into John John where I use to live because I could get kill," Scott said.
Boxhill said that the TTPS was focused on improving its detection rate for murders and violent crimes as well as increasing firearm seizures.
"We have not thrown our arms in the air. We have continued with our firearm interdiction effort which to date has seen over 700 firearms being taken off the streets. Most of these firearms recoveries were made possible by collaboration with members of the community," he said.
Boxhill said the TTPS chose the Brian Lara Promenade because previous meetings in communities across T&T were not well attended. The meeting was attended mostly by street vendors who complained about the police and the Port-of-Spain City Corporation's handling of illegal vending.
Melba Boxhill and Juliet Davy, co-ordinators of the Charlotte Street Heritage Vendors Market, said police officers had a nonchalant attitude when approached by vendors during their daily foot patrols.
"We would stop the police and point out a person who is threatening us. They say that is not their problem, tell the City Corporation police," Melba Boxhill said.
Head of the Port-of-Spain Division Senior Supt Floris Hodge-Griffith took note of the complaint and promised to address it with the officers under her charge.
"I can guarantee you in the shortest possible time you will see our presence," she said.
Radcliffe Boxhill and Hodge-Griffith said the TTPS will launch their anti-crime plan for the Christmas season later this month.
"We are optimistic that this plan would work because after we instituted similar measures last year, we had the lowest level of crime in Port-of-Spain in December. We will institute heightened police presence, foot patrols, static vehicles, mobile units, you name it we are going to have it," he said.