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Warner: Decline in serious crimes

By Ria Taitt Political Editor

There are currently 146 CCTV cameras throughout Tobago, allowing the people of the sister isle to get protection from that operational centre, National Security Minister Jack Warner said yesterday.

In a statement to the House of Representatives, Warner also stated that the Trafficking in Persons Act would be proclaimed this month.

Warner defended the crime statistics being given by the Crime and Problem Analysis unit of the Police Service. He said the statistics given by the unit under the PNM were accepted by all. Now, under the People's Partnership Government, persons were questioning the veracity of the figures, because they reveal a trend--that crime is going down.

Noting that many had said he had been put in the Ministry of National Security to fail, Warner said the crime figures showed there had been a decline in serious crime between 2010 and 2012.

"Facts are facts," he said.

From the beginning of 2010 to the end of 2012, murder had declined by 26 per cent; wounding by 18 per cent; break-in and robbery by 26 per cent; fraud offences by 45 per cent; general larceny by 11 per cent; larceny of vehicles by 41 per cent; larceny in a dwelling house by 14 per cent, he stated.

Warner pointed out that the figures for 2012 were lower than those of 2011, notwithstanding the fact that there was a state of emergency in 2011. He said there were 1,221 serious reported crimes by November 2011, while there were 1,184 by November 2012.

"Let's look at the murder rate. In 2009 under the PNM, there were 507 murders. In 2012 there were 377 murders...that is 130 less, which means one less murder every three days than under the PNM."

Warner added: "We have heard the usual empty vessels who have clamoured about the use of statistics...the facts speak for themselves. There has been a marked reduction in the most serious crimes since the People's Partnership took up the reins. I hope though that the Opposition and our detractors will one day have the maturity to operate like the Jamaicans."

He drew reference to the statements of commendation for the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service which came from Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) spokesman on National Security, Delroy Chuck, when there was a reduction in crime.

Warner promised this year that there will be more police vehicles, new uniforms, more bullet-proof vests, more police youth clubs, more coastal patrols and sustained police presence, visibility and enforcement.

He said Customs & Excise will be receiving scanners for the ports, while the Defence Force establishment will be strengthened to provide greater protection along the borders in both islands, as well as protection of the national energy infrastructure.

There will be upgrading and expansion of the coastal surveillance radar system and the CCTV programme will be expanded and there will be a revamping of the E999 call centre and rapid response mechanism.

Warner said once the legal mechanisms are in place, 1,000 Defence Force officers will be fully precepted with full powers as police officers.

The Minister said despite the naysayers, the country had started to see the seeds, which had been sown by the People's Partnership, bearing fruit.

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