The shocking video of a Freeport family being trampled upon, kicked and cuffed by robbers during a birthday lime has prompted calls for more surveillance in the area.
Residents said drug dens were cropping up in the once quiet community and they were afraid to share information.
At least every business place in the Arena Village has been hit by robbers over the past year. Even the Faith Assemblies Church has been burgled and police informants have been gunned down.
In an interview, Nikita Ragbir said more police patrols were needed in the side streets off Arena Road.
“We need patrols at Tiwarie Circular North and South. Police need to do more patrols because we do not feel secure here,” she said.
Pensioners Leela and Mathura Ramoutar, who live a few houses away from where the robbery at birthday lime took place, said they were traumatized by the increase in robberies.
Leela said her cousin Ramesh Mannah was gunned down two years ago.
“We are not safe. I felt so scared when I saw what happened with my neighbours,” she said. Mathura said the police patrols were consistent and response time was good.
However, he said preventative action had to be taken to curb crime.
At the Arena Supermarket, a source said the police needed to do more raids.
“Come and do surveillance and you will see what is happening,” she said, adding that the supermarket was robbed twice in recent times.
“When I heard about the robbery lower down the road I did not feel to come back to work. There are some youths who are distressing people. Long ago, this used to be a quiet place but not again. We were robbed in June last year and in February. Four men with guns came just as we were closing the supermarket. They slammed the customer’s head onto the shutters,” she recalled.
The source agreed that more patrols were needed in the area.
One of the relatives of the birthday party robbery victims said they were too traumatized to speak.
“We don’t want to relive this. When we saw the video it was as if we were reliving it,” she said.
Contacted for comment, Caroni Central MP Dr Bhoendradatt Tewarie said he had circulated the video of the robbery as a means of highlighting the horrid situation in the Arena area.
Tewarie said a year ago the area was hit by a string of armed robberies.
“We took the police with us into the communities and since then it had settled down for a while until now,” Tewarie said.
He said the police were not active with patrols.
“They are not dealing with drug blocks and they are not managing the traffic intersections to see who is coming in and out of our community. I want to see more police action and more protection for our citizens,” he added.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo Henry Awong also agreed there was an increase in criminal activity over the past month.
He called on the police to establish a police patrol unit in the area and implement more patrols.
Commissioner Griffith did not respond to messages left for him on WhatsApp. Efforts to contact him on his cellular phone proved futile.
- by Radhica De Silva