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KILLERS GO FREE

Police figures: 8 out of 10 murders unsolved for the past five years

By Joel Julien joel.julien@trinidadexpress.com

MORE than eight out of every ten murders committed over the past five years have remained unsolved, according to statistics provided by the Crime and Problem Analysis Branch (CAPA) of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS).

CAPA statistics show that as many as 1,951 killers may have gotten away with murder in this country over the past five years.

According to CAPA statistics for the period January 1, 2008 to December 30, 2012, 2,256 murders were committed in this country.

Statistics supplied by CAPA and posted on the TTPS official website show that over the past five years 305 murders were solved.

The number of murders solved last month, however, was not available on the TTPS website up to press time.

A murder is considered solved when detectives gather enough evidence so that a suspect is charged and carried before the court for the crime.

The detection rate for murders over the past five years was 13.5 per cent, according to the statistics provided by CAPA.

According to the CAPA figures, 377 murders were reported last year.

This worked out to an average of 31 murders a month or just over one murder a day.

Without the data for December, CAPA stated 46 murders were solved last year.

The detection rate for murders last year was 12 per cent, according to the figures provided by CAPA.

Not more than six murders were solved in any one month last year, according to the statistics.

In August and September last year, six murders were solved in each month.

Only one murder was detected in October last year.

In 2009, the police solved the most number of murders in the past five years with 80 being detected, CAPA figures stated.

In 2009, 507 murders were reported around the country.

In 2008, when the country recorded its highest murder toll with 547 murders, some 56 murders were detected that year, CAPA statistics stated.

Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams yesterday said the focus of the TTPS for this year is to reduce crime on a whole and improve the detection rate in all categories of crimes, not just murders.

"We intend to improve our detection rate across all categories of crime this year. We are focusing on reducing crime and we are focusing on improving the detection rate on crime," Williams said in a telephone interview yesterday.

"Our mission for 2013 is to reduce the murders. The detection rate becomes a consequential issue. Our mission is the reduction of murders, so we are seeking to reduce murders in 2013 and we are targeting 23 per cent, a very high target, but that is what we are targeting, and we are hoping to get close to that," Williams said.

If Williams achieves his goal for a 23 per cent reduction in murders, the country's murder toll will be 290 at the end of the year.

The lowest annual murder toll in the past five years was in 2011 when the country faced a three-month-long State of Emergency.

The murder toll in 2011 was 352, according to CAPA statistics.

Some 56 murders were solved in 2011 with a detection rate of 15.9 per cent, CAPA stated.

Williams's plan for a six-year low murder toll however has faced a setback so far, with 16 murders being reported in 13 days.

Last year, 17 murders were reported in 13 days.

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