IN the face of an increasing number of homicides since his appointment as National Security Minister, Jack Warner yesterday said he was not deterred by the statistics, and would not give up.
Instead, he announced that a plan was coming within four months that would see police squad cars arriving at the scene of gun related crimes "within seconds".
As of late yesterday, 36 persons had been killed since Warner's June 22 appointment by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, and the country had recorded 230 murders.
Speaking with reporters yesterday at the launch of a cadet camp in Carapichaima, Warner said he was uncertain whether the statistics being reported by the media were accurate.
He said, "you wake up a morning to see '35 dead under Jack'.
Jack didn't kill any. I didn't kill any...".
He added, "I do not know how correct the statistics are. But if you (the media) say they are correct, I am not going to throw my hands up in the air and say that nothing can be done. I am not going to be pessimistic about it."
Warner also said he had a stronger resolve to arrest crime generally. "I will be undeterred by statistics, as unfortunate as they are. I am committed and I shall find a solution to the problem."
In his address at the function, Warner said Trinidad and Tobago was "swimming in a sea of crime" and the majority of the criminal activity was taking place in Laventille and Diego Martin.
"I learnt this morning that 66 per cent of those firearms, the shots, came from Laventille. And in Laventille they have 68 per cent of the murders. Of those shots which were fired from firearms throughout the country, eight per cent came from Diego Martin, and Diego Martin has 16 per cent of murders in country. Where have all our police gone? Why are we not more secure with all the resources we have? The police service in this country is the best outfitted in the Caribbean. Yet I ask you where are the results?" Warner asked.
Warner said he intended to seek answers from Commissioner of Police Dwayne Gibbs and other police officers of the various police division when he meets with them on Friday.
Warner said that in his plans to tackle crime, he intended to bring technology that would pinpoint the criminals, the weapons and their locations.
"We are coming with a piece of technology that when it comes on the market it will blow your mind and blow the mind of every criminal in this country. Trust me on that.
The technology is coming that we will be able to identify where the shot went off, when and even to detect the house from where it came from. I am told that should be in the next three to four months and we are working with the firm to see how fast we can expedite it. When a shot is fired from a gun you will know where it came from, you will know the area, you can pinpoint the house. And if they have squad cars that are in the area as there will be, it will be a matter of seconds", said Warner.
He said more details on the technology and devices would be revealed at a later date. Warner also revealed that a Community Police Support Officers Unit would be set up to supplement the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service.
He added that on July 28, at 2 p.m he would hold a meeting of several "top ministers". Warner called on citizens to help him in the fight against crime.
"You all have to help me. This has to be a fight for all of us", he said.
While National Security Minister Jack Warner did not specify the technology to be used to detect, identify and respond to gunfire, there are several countries and cities in the United States where a technology known as ShotSpotter is being employed.
According to information on the website of SST Inc, which markets the ShotSpotter technology "agencies that have adopted it " as part of a comprehensive crime-reduction strategy have reported reductions in urban gunfire by up to 80 per cent and related violent crime by as much as 40 per cent".
"Police and law enforcement agencies around the globe are using SST to provide real-time information about gunfire and explosions, enabling a more effective response to gun violence and giving them a more complete picture of crime, so that they can better protect their personnel and their communities" the website states.
In explaining how the technology works, SST Inc states "When gunfire occurs outdoors, ShotSpotter Flex sensors and software triangulate and pinpoint the precise location of each round fired within seconds. Detailed incident data is instantly sent to the SST Operations Center, our secure data processing and alert qualification facility. Immediately, a SST gunfire and acoustic expert analyzes the data, qualifies the incident and sends a validated alert to the dispatch center or other Public Safety Answer Points (PSAP) and even directly to mobile and field personnel.
Qualified Alerts include critical situational awareness such as number of shots fired, shooter position, speed and direction of travel (of a moving shooter) and the exact time of gunfire".
The technology is available through a subscription service.