The government in Trinidad and Tobago is again faced with the challenge of reducing crime, with the country’s murder rate creeping up to historic highs this year.
As many as 240 people were killed in the first half of this year, according to the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS).
Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams went to the extent of urging local residents to assist the police in cracking down on criminal gangs.
Speaking with a local news portal Loop recently, Marla Dukharan, an economist, said: “Public expenditure on crime per capita is highest in Trinidad and Tobago at US$460.60 per capita, per annum, which is more than double the regional average of US$194.50.”
“Our money is not delivering results, the money that the government is spending, taxpayers’ dollars, is not delivering results.”
Despite heavy investment into reducing crime, the government is still talking about arming the police with more vehicles and more sophisticated weapons.
However, private businesses do not seem to be convinced, many of which are employing private security agents to protect themselves.
As a result, the private security industry is booming. There are more than 500 private security firms in the country, employing as many as 50,000 people.
In 2014, Trinidad suffered one of the highest crime-related costs in the entire Latin American and the Caribbean (LAC) region, according to the Inter-American Development Bank.
Homicides involving firearms reached 72.6% in 2014, the third highest in the region after the Bahamas and Jamaica.
Considering the bank’s report, the Caribbean country spent nearly 3.5% of its GDP on security in 2014.