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Thursday, April 24, 2014
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Griffith on spike in gang killings: Darkness before the dawn
Criminals are killing criminals as gang-related crimes have increased by 132 per cent since 2010, says National Security Minister Gary Griffith. In a telephone interview yesterday, Griffith admitted an increase in gang-related crimes but said other serious crimes had decreased by 43 per cent. He said the decrease represented crimes against law-abiding citizens who were safer now than before, even if they didn’t feel safe. Griffith presented police statistics which showed robberies were down by 52 per cent, kidnappings for ransom were down by 87 per cent and rape was down by 28 per cent.
The majority of the 405 murders which occurred last year were criminal-on-criminal offences, he said. Griffith said based on empirical data and police investigations, 250 of the 405 recorded murders were as a result of criminal activity. “Of the 405 murders, 250 were gang-related and 50 were drug-related,” said Griffith. He said there was less of a likelihood of people being murdered if they were not involved in criminal activities. “It is very difficult for law-enforcement agencies to protect people if they are not law-abiding citizens,” Griffith said. He repeated that there was a 43 per cent decrease in serious crime and, responding to criticism, said one could not criticise facts.
Griffith said the spike in gang-related killings was the “darkness before the dawn.” He said the increase in gang-related murders did not come as a surprise. He added: “I expected it. We have cut their supply of funding. They will have no access to state contracts and now they are fighting each other for scraps. We are not going to back down and there will be no negotiations.” He said he would continue to focus crime policies and initiatives on gang activities. “We are going to focus policies in trying to curb gang warfare,” he added.
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