Erla says TTPS in control, despite “surge in murders”

Home*Cover Story*News

Erla says TTPS in control, despite “surge in murders”

Police Commissioner Erla Harewood-Christopher says the TT Police Service (TTPS) is in control of the current crime situation and “surge in murders.”

Speaking at the police media briefing on Thursday, Harewood-Christopher said crime has “fuelled a widespread fear and anxiety in our community,” but she assured the public that the police are in control.

“We are able to control the increase in the violent crime.” She attributed the problem to the prevalence of drugs and guns but noted the police had seized more than 100 guns for the year already and almost 3,000 in the last four years.

“For this year, already we have recovered 117 weapons. Over the past four years, we would have recovered 2,840 firearms with 84,373 rounds of assorted ammunition. For the year so far, we have recovered, in addition to the 117 weapons, 1,430 rounds of ammunition.”

Head of the Homicide Bureau Rishi Singh provided showed the murder toll for 2024 stood at 124, similar to 2023 with 131 recorded for the comparative period in that year. He said, when sorted by probable cause, gang-related murders (55) accounted for the largest number of murders for the year.

“Gang and drug-related motives combined to form 56 per cent of the probable cause, with ‘unknown’ being the next highest at 18 per cent. Altercation is 11 per cent while robbery stands at seven.”

Despite the number of murders being less than last year. The number of incidents leading to murder increased slightly.

“For 2024 we have 111 incidents which led to 124 persons being killed. We have 104 incidents of single murders, four incidents of double murders, one incident of triple murder, one incident of quadruple and one incident of quintuple.”

“Compared to last year, we had 86 single incidents, 18 double incidents and three triple incidents, to give a total of 107 incidents for the corresponding period.”

Singh’s statistics also showed less murders were being solved. Although 23 people have been charged with murder for the year, only 11 of them were charged for murders committed in 2024.

“The detection rate for 2024, at the moment hovers at around nine per cent and we have a revised detection rate for 2023. As we continue to solve matters for previous years, it has improved to 16 per cent and we anticipate greater improvements as we progress.”

“As it relates to the co-operative support of the scientific evidence, we are seeing increases in those areas that supplement and support the persons who provide information.”

He said while people might not always want to give an official statement, he believed it was in everyone’s best interest for people who saw something to say something.

“I would still hope and encourage that persons who see and witness and know things come forward, please…

“Despite the challenges that we face, we’re asking you to find the courage to come forward and support. And when we do that, we will be in a better space even more and more, because we demonstrate that we want things to solve and we have resolve.”

“For the year to date, we have had support from ballistic evidence in one case. Eyewitness testimony, we have had support in nine such cases. The CCTV framework, we have had instances of great support in eight and we have had confessions in relation to three matters.”

Head of police operations deputy commissioner Junior Benjamin, said the public could expect increased police visibility so that people could feel safe in those hot spot areas. Benjamin added that he had no intention of allowing TT to become a country run by gangs.

“To those priority offenders who believe that they can take control. We are saying, not on our watch. We are going to stand very firm.”