Former police commissioner Stephen Williams' call for more community watch groups to assist the police in fighting crime is without doubt one that bodes well for all of T&T if taken seriously.
The merit of such a call cannot be understated. With more committed eyes and ears, the surveillance to spot potential crimes and avert criminals is heightened.
Police, we know, simply cannot be everywhere, every time.
The use of community monitoring and reporting mechanisms through technology, social and online communication, and active lookouts have always aided the process and ought to be encouraged, as former commissioner Williams has done.
The formation of community watch groups also leads to social cohesion within communities with more far-reaching benefits.
Bonded by purpose, communities then turn inward to examine the social conditions present among them that can fertilise or sustain crime and delinquency and seek to eliminate them.
This may include monitoring community youth activities to guard against the slightest divergences from lawful practices; counselling and arbitration among neighbours to maintain peace and harmony; and the development of sport and community-bonding programmes.
Such approaches put more emphasis on community efforts in contrast to formal crime prevention by law enforcement agencies, creating fortresses borne out of the common goal to protect self and neighbourhood.
However, they must be coupled with stronger response times by police and more proactive patrols.
No amount of early surveillance through properly functioning watch groups can be of benefit if calls to the police are not met with quick responses.
This requires a rapid-response policy that includes an achievable and enforceable timespan between receipt of a distress call and arrival at the scene, contingent on an appropriate working fleet of vehicles in each policing division.
In this regard, we fully appreciate Police Commissioner Erla Harewood-Christopher's plea for more working vehicles.
The Commissioner told a Joint Select Committee of Parliament last Thursday that she was not happy with the maintenance programme for the current fleet, noting that the Police Service only has 1,300 functioning vehicles when, ideally, they need 2,000.
She also told the JSC that the TTPS has made representation for another 500 new vehicles and that Parliament recently approved a further $100 million to the Ministry of National Security for the purchase of new ones.
The sooner they can arrive the better since these shortfalls threaten to derail the very best police-civil partnerships.
As seen recently by home invasions in Westmoorings and Victoria Gardens, criminals are infiltrating some of the more tightly knit, gated, and protected neighbourhoods where strong community watch groups already exist.
The response has to be a more determined approach by both sides to ensure that all cracks are closed.
While we support Mr Williams' call, the TTPS must understand the value of inspiring confidence within communities that the police are effective partners by ensuring proper response times to distress calls.
As the adage goes, it's going to take two hands to clap.