Statistics provided by the Crime and Problem Analysis Unit (CAPA) of the Police Service appear to confirm low levels of confidence in the ability of the police to combat crime, as reported by a recent United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) study. Detailed information on the issue appears in the recently-launched Human Development Atlas 2012, produced by the Central Statistical Office (CSO) and hailed by Planning Minister Dr Bhoe Tewarie last week as being “invaluable because it provides the data needed to address the issues affecting Trinidad and Tobago.” The atlas, the only one of its kind within the Caribbean Community (Caricom), cites variations in the degree of confidence in the police across the country’s nine police divisions. Respondents in the North Eastern Division rated the police fairly highly in their responses to emergency calls (60 per cent) while those polled in Port-of-Spain projected a 43.5 per cent confidence level when it came to responsiveness to reports. The Northern Division registered the lowest rating of 52.4 per cent in the confidence of citizens in its ability to deal effectively with crime.
The UNDP’s Citizen Security Survey, released in February, registered a national confidence average of 53 per cent. Over the past year, Tobago was reported as the division with the highest level of people feeling “very secure” (12.6 per cent), with “little fear of the possibility of becoming a victim of crime.” However, respondents in the Western Division (12.7 per cent) and the South Western Division (12 per cent) indicated that they were “very insecure” about the possibility of becoming victims. Respondents said confidence in the ability of the police to manage the problem of insecurity was “insufficient,” with the North Eastern Division (60.6 per cent), Tobago (53.3 per cent), Southern Division (50.3 per cent) and Port-of-Spain (49.4 per cent) perceived as having the least capability. According to a map illustrating the share of serious crimes by the type of crime, burglaries, break-ins, robberies and general larceny were described as being “the most prevalent types of serious crime overall in each police division.” A ten-year scan (2000-2010) of people who were the victims of crime showed that as many as 52 per cent of all those resident in the Western Division had been the subject of crime. In the South Western Division the share was 16 per cent, while in Tobago the statistic was 7.9 per cent.
Port-of-Spain scored high with the figures for murders, woundings and shootings, serious indecency, kidnappings and fraud. The Eastern Division, however, had the highest number of reported cases of rape, incest and other sexual crimes and narcotic offences. At the same time, the Eastern Division experienced the lowest numbers of general larceny and robberies. The voluminous atlas also provides detailed statistics on issues such as agriculture and food security; healthcare services and hospitals; economic growth; job creation; competitiveness and innovation and poverty reduction and human capital development. Director of statistics Dave Clement said the document is “an important addition to the information arsenal available to development researchers and public-sector technocrats interested in empirical information for decision-making. “It has emphasised the need for a more deliberate approach in the design of survey instruments that allow for the gathering and output of regionally disaggregated information, alongside the usual country-level statistical analyses,” Clement says in an introduction to the volume.