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This Christmas 'one of the safest'

Deputy CoP cites statistics

By Joel Julien joel.julien@trinidadexpress.com

According to police statistics, this Christmas may be the safest that the country has ever seen.

Only 14 serious crimes were reported across the entire country on the Saturday before Christmas, one of the busiest days for the entire season, Deputy Police Commissioner Mervyn Richardson said yesterday.

"Magnificent" is how Richardson yesterday described this occurrence.

In fact the crime rate is so low in the capital city this Christmas season that the main bone of contention this year is the issue of wrecking, Richardson said.

Richardson made the statements at the Sea Lots Basketball court yesterday where he visited the first of three Christmas treats being conducted by the Police Service.

To bolster his case on the Police Service's success against crime this season, Richardson yesterday referenced the crime statistics compiled around the country three days before Christmas.

"It has been magnificent. Daily I compute the crime and sometimes in a night you would have two serious crimes. Of course you would have a larceny of something or somebody take something, but in terms of serious crimes that are affecting...it is very low and last night we had five in the whole of Port of Spain and that speaks volumes, in North Eastern we had nil, no serious crimes, in Eastern we had two serious crimes, in South Western we had two, in Southern we had five and in Tobago we had none. That is the sort of thing we now witnessing with our programmes," Richardson said.

He knocked on wood (well actually the plastic flag of the TV6 microphone), so as not to blight the Police Service's success.

Asked whether he thought this was one of the safest Christmas seasons in a number of years, Richardson said:

"I will let the record speak for themselves, but just to answer your question we have had very little (crime) to the extent where we are now having the issue in Port of Spain is wrecking and not larceny and pick pocket. It is wrecking," Richardson said.

"I leave that (determining if this is one of the safest Christmas seasons) to your better judgment to decide and the same can be said in San Fernando, in Central and Tobago all over the country we have the safe city concept that is taking full effect all over the country and this will be expanded to the Carnival period so from next week a new plan is rolling out," he said.

Following his visit to Sea Lots, Richardson also went to Beetham Gardens and Maloney Gardens yesterday where other Christmas treats for children were also held.

He said the thrust of yesterday's initiatives was to bring a sense of peace and joy to the children of the "challenged communities".

"This is another face of the Police Service, we are expressing for the whole year our gratitude for all the support we have been getting. We hope that everyone enjoys themselves, we hope that peace will prevail in these communities and in all that the children would enjoy themselves," he said.

"If you trap them (the children) when they are young they shall not go on to crime and this is part of the whole strategy to show the children that there is another way and to show those who are leaning towards criminal activity that there is another side and that there is a better way and to come and partner with us," Richardson said.

Richardson however warned criminals against taking the Police Service's kindness for weakness.

"Every officer of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service is firmly engaged in this exercise (community outreach) however I want to take this (opportunity) to say while we are on this soft path do not mistake this to mean weakness," he said.

"This is just another path and I am appealing to those who may think about deviance to think again. I just want to sound a warning that we will have no disruption of the peace we will defend it will all of our might," Richardson said.

Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams was "unavoidably absent" from yesterday's initiatives.

Richardson was accompanied by Deputy Police Commissioner Simon Alexis and Assistant Police Commissioner Inez Joseph yesterday.

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