Deputy Police Commissioner Jack Ewatski says there has been a 34 per cent reduction in crime in the Maraval area over the last year. Ewatski is claiming the decrease is a result of the 21st-century policing initiative implemented to introduce a more modern and innovative approach to policing.
Ewatski made the statement at a public stakeholder meeting hosted by the Police Service Commission Secretariat, at the Maraval Community Centre, on Thursday evening. The sparsely attended meeting was staged to evaluate the effectiveness of the project. "Statistics show that crime in the area is down by 34 per cent. Police officers are working to protect and serve with pride," said Ewatski.
"I also have reports that police officers have been able to respond and apprehend individuals leaving the scenes of the crimes. I am very pleased with that." However, Ewatski could not divulge further details when pressed by Diego Martin North East MP Colm Imbert.
Imbert said he had "no idea" what the initiative entailed and therefore had little faith that it had made any significant dent in the crime situation. "How do you measure that? I'm trying to understand how you arrived at that figure," Imbert asked. Unfazed, Ewatski, who said he lived in the community, said, "Based on the statistics we keep, I am saying that crime has reduced by 34 per cent. That is the information I have."
Not satisfied with Ewatski's explanation, Imbert called on him to "please explain your point." Imbert said: "I am not aware that there has been any reduction in crime. In fact, I know there has been an increase in the number of robberies in the area. That wasn't the case previously. I cannot say there is any improvement as a result of this initiative. "I don't even know what the 21st-century policing is all about."
Resident Stephanie Thomas echoed Imbert's sentiments. Thomas said the police were "too unjust" and did not have an amicable relationship with members of the community. Thomas said she made several reports to the police about robberies she had witnessed, but to no avail. She said she now had to take matters into her own hands, as the police "doh care about we."
"I will be sharpening my blade back and forth. I have two girl children and I have to protect them. I have had it up to here with the police," she said. "The police and them not effective. I don't know what wrong with them. "I called the station to report a robbery I saw. Up to this day, I still waiting on them to come."
Councillor for the area Nadine Romany called for a police youth club to be set up in the area. She said while there were increased police patrols in the community, she was not totally satisfied that the initiative was having the desired effect. Another resident, Laurlyn Mc Kain, who blamed the poor turnout on a lack of advertising by the Police Service Commission, said while she understood police could not be everywhere all the time, there was need for them to take their jobs more seriously.
"We need more police presence, especially for the traffic on mornings. Drivers doing what they want. The police and traffic wardens supposed to be out there, because old people like me having a hard time," she said.