Police Commissioner quiet on murder toll increase

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Police Commissioner Erla Harewood-Christopher – FILE PHOTO/ROGER JACOB

Police Commissioner Erla Harewood-Christopher has not yet publicly commented on the fact that the murder toll for the first nine months of the year has surpassied last year’s figure for the same period.

Harewood-Christopher, at the TTPS Independence Day toast, boasted of a “zero per cent” increase in the murder rate up till August, compared to 2022.

But at the weekly police press briefing on Thursday, police officials said there were 454 reported murders for the first nine months of 2023.

This is 18 more murders than the figure reported for the same period in 2022, and means September was the second deadliest month for the year, with 60 murders, after January’s 61.

The 2023 figures include the murders of 44 women, 18 children and 14 foreigners.

Supt Lindon Douglas, at the press briefing, said the majority of the murders were motivated by gang warfare (184).

Head of the Homicide Bureau Snr Supt Rishi Singh said the East-West Corridor remains the deadliest part of the country, with 221 murders.

On August 31, Harewood-Christopher said a ten per cent decrease in murders in July and August had brought the murder toll down to match the corresponding period last year.

But statistics show for every other month of the year the 2023 toll surpassed 2022, except for April, which was equal.

Newsday called Harewood-Christopher for her comments on the increased murder toll, but calls to her phone went unanswered.

Newsday also contacted TTPS information officer Joanne Archie by WhatsApp, to ask for Harewood-Christopher’s thoughts on the increased murder figure.

However, Archie said Harewood-Christopher had already expressed her opinion “through the Snr Supt, Homicide, at the press briefing.”