Acting Police Commissioner McDonald Jacob speaks during a town hall meeting at the St Joseph community centre on Thursday evening. Photo by Shane Superville
Acting Police Commissioner McDonald Jacob has urged the public and community institutions to join forces with the police in tackling the root causes of crime, pointing out there were no superheroes to deal with the issue.
Speaking during a police town hall meeting at the St Joseph Community Centre on Thursday evening Jacob said he shared the public’s concerns over the frequency of murders and violent crime and said dealing with the causes of criminality was equally important as devising strategies to deal with the after-effects of crime.
Jacob also said that a significant portion of Trinidad and Tobago’s annual murders were a result of arguments and domestic issues which could have been avoided through proper conflict-resolution techniques.
Referring to recent instances where family members have murdered each other, he said it was important to address proper parenting and family support systems to treat effectively with a certain category of crime.
Acting Police Commissioner McDonald Jacob responds to a question from the public at a town hall meeting at the St Joseph community centre on Thursday afternoon. Photo by Shane Superville
He said to address these situations properly, the police have already had discussions with the ministries of Social Development and Family Services, Education and other stakeholders. No one person could deal with the issue alone, he said.
“The same criminals that come out from dysfunctional families who prey on others, they now start to prey on themselves.
“Look at how in recent times how many situations we have where brother kills brother, or daughter kills mother, or brother kills brother and kills girlfriend.
“We continue with the problem because we are not dealing with the root problems that exist within our society, so that even though we come here with all the crime-prevention measures, it is time that we face the truth and deal with the truth.
“The change will come. It will not happen right now, but it will come.
“If we continue ..looking for superheroes to solve our problems, it won’t happen. I cannot, in fact, come with something to cloud people’s minds so they wouldn’t face what is happening and they talk about something else. I cannot do that.”
Jacob said out of an average of 440 murders for the year, approximately 130-140 were the result of domestic disputes or altercations.
Noting recent partnerships the UWI, St Augustine to begin training initiatives for police on conflict resolution, he said steps were being taken to tackle crime at all levels,
Responding to calls for firearms user’s licences (FULs) to be made more available to the public, Jacob said life skills were needed more than weapons in preventing crime. He also warned that giving guns to people lacking basic conflict resolution skills would do more harm than good.
Acting Police Commissioner McDonald Jacob speaks with a police officer at the beginning of a town hall meeting at the St Joseph Community Centre, on Thursday evening. Photo by Shane Superville
“Someone without anger management training, and they have a firearm, will equal death. People with impulsive behaviour and they have a firearm equals death. Someone with a lack of emotional intelligence and they have a firearm equals death.
“We need to change the mindset and develop ourselves and all of our people in order to make the change that is required in our society. But they don’t want to hear that from the police.
“What we want to hear is how many patrols we are going to do, because the police must operate in that realm only.”