THIS year’s Carnival saw fewer than 50 serious crimes being reported throughout Trinidad and Tobago, resulting in a 42 per cent decrease in the figure reported for the same period last year, according to statistics from the Ministry of National Security.
Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams yesterday said the reduction in serious crimes could be attributed to increased cooperation by citizens, additional man power resources and advanced technology.
Despite the overall reduction in serious crimes across T&T, however, the South Western Division saw more than a 200 per cent increase in reports as compared to last year.
Of the nine police divisions, only the South Western Division and Tobago did not record a decrease in serious crimes compared to last year.
In an advertisement in yesterday’s Sunday Express the Ministry of National Security issued a “Thank You” to Trinidad and Tobago for making this year’s Carnival safe.
According to the statistics, a total of 46 serious crimes were reported for Carnival 2014, as compared to 109 serious crimes reported for the same period last year.
For the year 2012, some 122 serious crimes were reported.
In all three years, the Port of Spain Police Division accounted for the majority of serious crimes being reported for Carnival.
This year the Port of Spain Division had 16 serious crimes reported.
It was the only police division to have serious crimes reach double digits.
In 2013 and 2012, 17 and 36 serious crimes were reported, respectively.
The only police division to report an increase in serious crimes this year as compared to last year was the South Western Division.
Serious crimes in the South Western Division increased from three to eight over the Carnival period between this year and last year.
In 2012, eight serious crimes were also reported in that division.
While serious crimes fell from three to two in Tobago between 2012 and 2013, there was no change for this year.
The Northern Division saw the greatest reduction in serious crimes between 2013 and 2014, with a drop from 21 to one.
In 2012, there were 20 serious crimes reported in the Northern Division.
Asked what may have attributed to the overall reduction in serious crimes during the Carnival period, Williams said the help from citizens was a key component.
“Policing depends heavily on a well-shaped partnership between the Police Service and the other law enforcement and the law-abiding public,” Williams said,
He said 2014 saw “extensive co-operation” between the public and the police.
“There are situations where what may have escalated into a major problem around violence, information reaching the police in a timely manner allowed quick response and you are able to address a matter like that so you don’t have a wounding...you may have a scuffle between individuals and it would not have gone to the point of having somebody killed or injured,” he said.
He said the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service also saw additional support from the T&T Defence Force this year.
This and the addition of some 1,000 special reserve police officers helped in ensuring an overall increase in manpower for Carnival.
“By way of manpower resources to police for Carnival across Trinidad and Tobago, the numbers would have been way beyond what was utilised in the past,” Williams said.
The introduction of the National Operations Centre was also highlighted by Williams as being critical to reducing crime for Carnival.
“All in all, citizens’ co-operation, resources, technology all added up to bring the ultimate results.”
Williams said additional officers trained in breathalyser testing also led to the roadways being safer.
“There was a reduction in the number of serious accidents, fatal accidents, the number of accidents generally because the active presence on the road way, breath testing at key points, advertising that we would be breath testing, because the whole thrust is to prevent and not necessarily detect,” he said.
Williams said apart from the statistics of a reduction in serious crime, polls have suggested that individuals also felt safer during Carnival.
“I can’t underscore the level of co-operation of the citizens, the numbers generally would speak one way that there was a major drop in the crime over the Carnival period, but numbers by itself do not fulfil all that is necessary because the numbers may be dropping and the public perception is different,” Williams said.