THE ARIMA Business Association (ABA) has offered a long list of ways to combat crime in the police Northern Division, including the review of budgetary allocations for various police divisions and stations based on levels of criminal activity.
The ABA issued a statement on Monday, citing police statistics which show the Northern Division leading the country in many aspects of violent crimes from 2013-2020.
It said the death of another innocent person has sparked citizens to unite against criminality, "specifically the constant and unwarranted attacks on our women and children."
Since the body of murder victim Andrea Bharatt was found in the Heights of Aripo earlier this month, there have been vigils and protests all over the country.
The association said, "The collective voices of the nation have forced the legislative powers of our nation to act in the best interest of TT with the unanimous passing of the Evidence Bill."
It said it stood with "the citizens of this beloved country in the call to not only end gender-based violence and violence against women but crime in general. Enough is enough."
The lobby group said Arima and constituents within the Northern Division have and continue to "haemorrhage at the mercy of criminality for many years; not just this year or last year.
"Who do we blame? The Government for not handling the situation? The Opposition for not supporting legislation? Taxi drivers, institutions, broken homes, ourselves? When are we going to realise that crime is not as a result of poverty or absence of self-development opportunities, but vice?"
Saying it supports the push for legislative change to protect the basic human rights of citizens, the chamber issued a list of areas which it said required urgent review and reform.
The ABA's lists of proposals also included a call to review the service boundaries of the Arima police station, allow existing communities to become gated communities, and to expedite reviews of firearm user's licence applications and issue them to deserving candidates.
The association said it has and will continue to support and work with the police, the commissioner of police, the Ministry of National Security and fellow business associations.
"The reality is that major changes need to be enacted to safeguard our citizens, not just in Arima but nationwide.
It also sent its condolences to the Bharatt family, saying, "There is no greater pain than a parent burying his/her child whose life was snuffed out at hands of criminals.
"May Andrea Bharatt’s soul and the souls of all lives lost at the hands of criminals rest in eternal peace."
The ABA has asked businesses to display a pink flag or cloth at the front of their stores and for taxis/maxis to display something pink on their dashboard to honour the lives lost to criminals
ABA's suggestions to fight crime
* Improve the functionality and expedite the accessibility of the National Sex Offenders Registry.
* Use monitor bracelets/anklets for people on bail.
* Review budgetary allocations for various police divisions and stations based on levels of criminal activity.
* Public accountability for budgetary spending on national security by police division,
* Give police stations human and physical resources. For example, training, functional police vehicles, staffing and performance monitoring.
* Review the call to service boundaries of the Arima Police Station.
* Expedite permit process for pepper spray to those successfully completing training on safety and use.
* Increase penalties for individuals engaging in criminal activities.
* Enforce penalties for individuals making false allegations and false reports.
* Regulate taxi services. Make all tariffs enforceable by law; all taxis should formally register with respective taxi associations; PH taxis should be governed by current Motor Vehicle and Road Traffic Act.
* Require annual submissions of certificates of character to the Ministry of Works and Transport by all registered taxi drivers or immediate update of Taxi Registrar to revoke badges and licences if any driver is convicted of a crime.
* Allow existing communities to become gated communities in order to secure themselves, if they wish
* Expedite reviews of firearm user's licence (FUL) applications and issue FULs to deserving candidates.
* Require evidence of semi-annual/annual training for FUL holders on renewal of permits.
* Share wanted person/persons of interest information directly with business associations and groups for distribution to membership or placement in business directories.
Police crime statistics according to division from 2013-2020
Category of crime*Ranked 1*Ranked 2
Burglaries and break-ins*Northern 3,094*Central 2,879
Fraud *Northern 692*Southern 688
General larceny*Port of Spain 3,537*Northern 2,578
Kidnapping*Northern 170*Southern 137
Kidnapping for Ransom*South Western 15*Northern 11
Larceny dwelling house*Northern 369*Tobago 253
Category of Crime*Ranked 1*Ranked 2
Larceny motor vehicles*Northern 1,599*Southern 971
Murders*Northern 808*Port of Spain 599
Narcotics*Northern 627*Southern 563
Other*Central 965*Northern 940
Possession of firearms and ammunition*Northern 915*Southern 699
Rapes, incest and sexual offences*Northern 766*Tobago 619
Robberies*Northern 4,667*Southern 3,671
Serious indecency*Northern 55*Southern 51
Woundings and shootings*Northern 855*Port of Spain 687