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Friday, April 25, 2014
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Al-Rawi hopes PP gets handle on crime PNM calls for better detection rate
As Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar is promising an even more aggressive war on crime in 2014, the Opposition is praying the Government will accept and implement some of its recommendations to increase the detection rate. “I am praying that the Government will have a better approach to crime,” People’s National Movement (PNM) PRO Faris al-Rawi said on Tuesday. “On the eve of New Year’s Day, I continue to call on the Government to take seriously the recommendations we provided them to improve the detection rate.”
Al-Rawi said the Opposition had been continually advocating the adoption of measures like the use of anonymous witness evidence, which would encourage more witnesses to come forward. He said the crime detection rate, which fell from 35 per cent in 2009 to between four and six per cent earlier this year, was stymied by witnesses’ lack of confidence in the system to protect them.
Al-Rawi was responding to questions from the T&T Guardian on the murder figures in New York up to last Monday. There were 333 murders in the metropolis, which has a population of eight million. T&T, with a population of 1.3 million, recorded 407 murders and 12,835 serious crimes for 2013. Acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams, contacted by the Guardian, said he did not want to comment on New York’s crime figures, as he needed to look at them himself before commenting.
Al-Rawi, however, said criminals were becoming more boldfaced because of witnesses’ fear. “We need to depoliticise the issue of crime. We have seen everything we recommended come to nought.” New York Police Department’s outgoing commissioner Ray Kelly is being credited with the city recording its lowest murder rate ever.
Kelly, despite criticisms, implemented certain policies, including a stop-and-frisk programme, which took many guns off the streets, and the tracking of Muslim New Yorkers after September 11, 2001. He will be replaced by Bill Bratton, whom National Security Minister Gary Griffith brought to T&T in November last year to assist in the fight against crime.
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