With the murder toll now at 391, nine murders short of 400 for the year and eight short of the projected figure of 399 by the year's end, Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams said that for 2014 the aim was to target armed violence in the East West Corridor which would see serious crime in the country drastically plummeting.
Speaking at the weekly press briefing which was turned to a meda appreciation luncheon at the Police Administration Building, Port-of-Spain, yesterday, Williams said that in 2014 the Police Service would embark on activities that would have a major impact on murders, shootings, woundings and other violent offences.He said the four offences were part of the 32 intended targets for reduction this year.
Williams said 26 of the service's overall 32 intended targets have been met with the hope that by year's end that figure would be 28 targets achieved. Of the targets achieved Williams said was the reduction in serious crimes, violent crimes, fatal accidents and traffic accidents. He said the Police Service was not able to achieve one of the main targets, which was the reduction in murders. The murder toll for last year was 379.
He said firearm recovery must be a priority in the coming year because in 2013 of all the murders committed guns have been the weapons of choice with over 70 per cent of the murders being gun-related.Williams said the 360 illegal guns recovered for the year so far was not enough and the police must do more and the porous borders must be protected.
"As we enter 2014 we recognise that armed violence is the area of greatest concern for the citizens and if that is the area of concern for the citizens then it must be one of the priority considerations for the police," Williams said.He called on the powers that be to do more for the social ills of the society, particularly those in the East West Corridor.He added: "The issue is not around policing. Crime is a social matter and there must be a broader consideration of the social issues confronting the country.
"The East West Corridor can be identified as the broad location for the majority of violent crimes. We have seen 73 per cent of the year's killing occurring from Carenage to Arima."It is critical that we look at the issue beyond police and clearly identify that there is a need for far broader consideration to be given to the improvement of the quality of life for the citizens in the East West Corridor.
"If that is not addressed we will continue to have an issue with violent crime in the country. If the East West Corridor is properly addressed then violent crime would be insignificant in the country."He added that in a short time in excess of 1,300 marked police vehicles would be patrolling the streets. Officers who work in offices would be pulled out to do patrols to have a very visible presence of police officers.
Williams said the Police Service had received extremely high levels of co-operation and support from the public which signalled a growing partnership between the two and thanked the public for the co-operation and suggestions in policing the country.