Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams says the Police Service was "not throwing its hands up in the air" but was doing everything within its power to ensure that citizens feel safer and that crime was brought under control.
In the first month of the year 13 people were arrested and charged for murders and 65 illegal guns seized, he said.
Speaking to the T&T Guardian Williams said police are fighting crime at all levels.
He said, "We are not putting our hands up in the air and crying, we are doing everything possible to ensure that the problem is dealt with, we are pushing, working hard, and I assure you we will see the progress, we will see a comparative reduction in murders and other serious crimes."
With close to 60 murders for the year Williams admitted "homicides are a big ticket item and we have increased our efforts to deal with it. We have doubled the staff at the homicide bureau, but we also have to prevent the homicides."
There has been a 20 per cent solve rate for the murders committed with 13 people being arrested and charged.
But Williams said there are some murders "we cannot prevent, a brother killing his brother, a daughter stabbing her father, a cousin killing a cousin in an argument, that is murder but police can't stop that."
In an effort to keep the homicide rate down, he said, "We have developed the hotspot policing approach so every single day police are out in locations where the likelihood of crime is higher than other places. We out there every single day getting guns and arresting people, we driving hard in dealing with the problem."
To ensure that his men are out in the 'hotspot' areas where they have been assigned, he said, "vehicles have been installed with GPS tracking systems, we have the most comprehensive tracking of GPS in patrol vessels in the world, so we know where the vehicles are on a 24/7 basis."
This, he said, was of tremendous benefit to communities, "because while everybody looking at homicides there has been a significant decline in violent crimes in shootings for the year."
In 2016 there were 60 shootings and woundings in the month of January, for the same period this year, he said, it was down to 29.
Williams said on a daily basis "the police are apprehending persons who commit crimes almost immediately." Those crimes he said are "mainly robberies but within minutes the perpetrators are arrested. The number of persons before the magistrates court on a daily basis for new crimes is testimony to the work we are doing."
He admitted though he was "not satisfied" with the detection rate.
"I will never be happy with the rate until we are at 100 per cent."
Williams said he has noticed that the public has been more helpful and this was helping to solve crimes faster.
"I have seen a growing positive trend of public support that is a critical component in the fight to fix the problem."
Williams urged citizens who have reports of crime to make their reports and "anyone who feels they are not treated properly should report it to the Divisional Commander because we need to treat with it."
To this end, he said, he has published the names and phone numbers of each divisional commander in the TTPS quarterly magazine which was available in all police stations.
He said it was a "small group of persons" responsible for the spate of crime in the country, Williams assured that his men are out in the field, intent on bringing the criminal element to justice.
Laws needed to deny
repeat offenders bail
Williams said two pieces of legislation are critical to win the battle against crime– the Bail (Amendment) Act and the Anti-Gang legislation. He said previously when both pieces of legislation were in place "it helped. It will take many other pieces of legislation all put together to complement each other to give us resolution to what we want for Trinidad and Tobago." The legislation prevented bail being granted to repeat offenders for over 120 days. It expried in August last year after a trial period.
Williams said the Police Service has even gone beyond its reach to address crime in another way. "We have set up 121 youth clubs across the country helping 11, 000 young people between the ages of five and 25 with an aim to nurturing them, teaching them discipline, encouraging them to get their education, all with the aim of making them better citizens."
He said communities need to get involved, "everyone has a role to play, families, churches, government, the opposition, schools, we need to get involved." To this end, he commended, the group Powerful Ladies of Trinidad and Tobago which he said had launched an app to allow communities to send information about crimes in their community. This, he said, was "indicative of wanting to do something tangible to address the problem."
In addition, he said, the other arms of the justice system need to be addressed. "This is not just about the police. There are 975 persons charged with murder and waiting on trial in the prison, they cannot be tried. The criminal justice system is part of it. The DPP's office is under-staffed the DPP himself said the staff shortage is crippling his department, we have to look at all the pieces."