“I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left.” —Margaret Thatcher
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Too many murders left unsolved
One every 16 hours. That is the rate at which intentional homicides were being committed, up to press time last night. In the unlikely event that the current murder rate continues unabated, 2014 will see 547.5 murders, the highest since 2008, when the count totalled 547.
Nor does the 2014 toll of 72 compare favourably with last year’s figure for the same period, 55.
Along with the high toll, there is the issue of detection. Of the 46 murders recorded in January 2014, only five have been solved, according to statistics posted on the Police Service website. Head of the Homicide Bureau ACP Wayne Dick in a telephone interview with the T&T Guardian yesterday said while other arms of the police service are responsible for preventing murders, his 60 officers are tasked with solving them. Special training is needed to help his officers boost the detection rate, DIck said.
“I have done much training since coming to the Homicide Bureau in April last year and I am pursuing further training that would be beneficial to my officers,” Dick said.
The specialist training will have a positive effect on his officers and boost their morale, Dick said.
Simply sending his men to North America for training so that they can copy and paste what they learnt is not sufficient, he said. His officers would have to find ways to customise foreign techniques to the Trinidad and Tobago context. He said he would recommend six officers be trained at a time, so that they could then train their counterparts. He commended his officers highly for demonstrating deligence in spite of not having the desired training.
According to data on the country’s 2008-2013 murder rate, collected by open journalism source Bullet Points, the month of February could see a decrease in the amount of blood spilled. Over that six-year period, the lead-up to Carnival saw a decrease in murders in all but two years. In 2009, 49 murders were recorded in the first month with seven more occurring in February. In 2013, January saw 38 people murdered, 47 the following month.
However, the correlation between the T&T Carnival season and the nationwide decrease in murders may not be a causal one.