THE police have increased their presence in the John John and Laventille areas in a bid to quell an upsurge in violence that has many residents homeless after their homes were firebombed.
Since Monday, four structures which contained a number of apartments have been burnt down at Clifton Hill, John John.
Both police and residents said a war between gangs from Clifton Hill and Beverly Hills was the reason behind the arson attacks.
Snr Supt Carlton Alleyne addressed reporters yesterday at the Police Service media conference at Police Headquarters, Port of Spain.
He said following the first incident on Monday, when two houses were destroyed by fire, arsonists continued again on Tuesday, burning down two more houses.
When the Express visited Clifton Hill on Monday, people whose houses had not been torched fled the area as they feared they would be next.
Snr Supt Alleyne explained that besides increasing their presence in the community, the police were establishing a homework centre to discourage younger people in the community from joining gangs.
He added police appealed to the "hearts and minds" of the community, but were also raiding houses to search for guns and ammunition.
Alleyne insisted that it was not a lockdown or an attempt to create a police state within Trinidad and Tobago.
"But we must respond. What is happening in John John and Laventille did not start yesterday and it will not be solved by tomorrow, but what we are saying is that we are here for the long haul and we must continue, but we have to work as a team because we are all stakeholders in this battle," he said.
ASP Joanne Archie, the Police Service's official spokesperson, also talked about the police investigation into last Sunday's vehicular accident at Sea Lots, Port of Spain, which left three pedestrians dead and three injured. She said it was an ongoing investigation.
Although the police said previously that the driver of the car, an off-duty police officer, was administered a breathalyser test, the results were still not available yesterday.