SIX out of every ten people murdered last year were involved in “serious criminal activities”, National Security Minister Gary Griffith has said.
Griffith said because the majority of murders committed in this country for 2013 was criminals killing criminals it was hard for the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service to protect them.
If you are not involved in criminal activities, however, then you have no need to fear about crime in this country, Griffith said
Griffith made the statements in a telephone interview with the Express yesterday.
According to statistics from the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS), Griffith said 405 people were murdered last year.
Of the 405 murders, 197 of the killings were gang-related while 47 were drug-related, Griffith said.
“I know people might be upset with what I am saying but don’t get upset with me don’t shoot the messenger what I am saying is a fact. These are computerised statistics that are facts, Griffith said.
“So what I am saying is, I am not making this up, this is not perception, the fact is that 244 of the 405 persons, the reports we have from the police, is that these persons were involved in serious criminal activities,” he said.
Griffith said because of their involvement in criminal activity and their disregard for life it is hard to protect them.
“It is very difficult for any government, for any law enforcement agency to protect people who are not interested to protect themselves,” Griffith said.
“If you are involved in a heavy life of crime, if you are involved in trying to kill other people, if you are involved in drugs it is very difficult for the police to try to protect you,” he said.
Griffith said for law-abiding citizens serious crime has reduced by 43 per cent.
“What the facts have shown is that those persons who are law-abiding citizens that there has been a 43 per cent reduction in every single major criminal activity involving law abiding citizens,” Griffith said.
“If you are not involved in criminal activities, you are a law-abiding citizen of this country, there has been a reduction in persons like that who have been kidnapped, robbed, raped, vehicles stolen and murdered,” he said.
Griffith said he was not playing with statistics.
“What I am saying is a scientific fact. I did this not to try to play with statistics but to show that I needed this for us to analyse exactly where the problem lies for us to focus our resources,” Griffith said.
“Data will show worldwide that if major criminal activities go up, the homicide rate goes up, it follows it almost the same and vice versa”.
“In this case we have almost every single major criminal activity going down but the murder rate is staying the same thing so something is wrong and the reason for it is because of this situation with gang warfare and gang members shooting other gang members and fighting for turf,” Griffith said.
Griffith said the starving of funding for gang members has caused them to “fight over scraps like pothounds” and kill each other.
“I will continue to peg them back because I am not going to negotiate with criminals,” he said.
Griffith said once the gang situation is dealt with the annual murder toll will drop by more than 200 killings.
“The night is darkest before the dawn. We have to bleed to heal,” Griffith said.
He called on the country’s law abiding citizens to do more.
“One thing to cause this situation to stop even faster is trying to get the 1.3 million law-abiding citizens to bring the gang leaders to justice,” he said.
“Once we get these main individuals, the rest of the gangs will dismantle. If the gangs dismantle you are talking about over 200 less murders per annum,” Griffith said.
He said the National Security Ministry has seven initiatives to deal with the gangs in this country.
Griffith said he could not reveal these initiatives.
“Our focus now is dealing with the gangs. We are fully aware of what we are required to do and we are doing it,” Griffith said.