Frustrated with rising crime in the southern city, members of the San Fernando Business Association have pledged financial assistance to the T&T Police Service to purchase more cameras for the city.
Speaking at a meeting at the Arcade Food court on High Street on Saturday, president of the San Fernando Business Association Daphne Bartlett said business owners were very concerned about the brazen robberies, purse snatching and pick-pocketing occurring on the main shopping streets of the city.
Bartlett said the daring heist at RT Jewellers on High Street had left many people traumatised, some of whom were calling for the return of joint army/police patrols.
She also said that a CCTV camera placed at Mon Chagrin Street had reduced criminal activities in that area. Bartlett said she had checked the prices of security cameras and was willing to join with other business owners to purchase additional surveillance cameras which can be placed at strategic locations on Lower and Upper High Streets. Mucurapo Street, Lord Street, Harris Promenade, St James Street and on Coffee Street.
She also called for a police post to be set up at Kings Wharf. Owner of Vinod Jewellers, Vinod Mishra also called for the police booth to be returned at the top of High Street.
Another business owner, Adam Hosein, said that joint army/police patrols would go a long way in reducing crime.
Managing Director of Visioneer Construction Arden O’Garrow complained that the police have not been working with the business owners. He said recently he called the police to complain that residents had blocked off a section of St James Street to allow children to play on the road but no one ever responded. He also said he was mistreated by police at the San Fernando Police Station.
In response, Assistant Commissioner of Police (South) Harry Baldeo assured the business owners that he will make recommendations to acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams for joint army/patrols to resume. He urged the business owners to contact the police if they needed assistance to transport large sums of money. Baldeo also urged the business owners to remain vigilant and to assist the police with crime fighting. However, he denied that crime was on the rise in the southern city.
Assistant Supt Peter Ramdeen said there was a 21 per cent decrease in serious crimes in the city. For 2018, Ramdeen said there were 15 murders in San Fernando compared to 17 for the same period last year. He said there were 21 woundings compared to 19 in 2017, 13 rapes, compared to 19, two kidnappings, compared to five last year, 31 break-ins, compared to 39, 76 robberies compared to 93 last year, 16 incidents of fraud, compared to 26 last year, 26 general larceny, compared to 49 last year, 23 vehicles were stolen compared to 29 last year and three incidents of larceny in a dwelling house, compared to eight last year. He also said there were 45 firearm offences.
Supt Yuseff Gaffar called on the business owners to meet regularly with the police at the fortnightly station council meeting.
Deputy Mayor Vidya Mungal-Bissessar said the Corporation was moving apace to open the Municipal police headquarters at Kings Wharf.
Source: www.guardian.co.tt (Radhica Sookraj)