Crime and violence is a major concern to the Congress of the People. Trinidad and Tobago commits extensive amounts of resources to acquire and maintain it security apparatus. There is significant loss of life, revenue, opportunities, destruction of entrepreneurial spirit, and a deepening insecurity and undermining of the normal human interactions needed to build a strong cohesive nation. A Congress of the People does not support an approach to crime prevention that focuses exclusively on increasing the powers and weaponry of the police. Based on empirical data, the world is moving away from heavy-handed approaches to crime prevention through various other measures and interventions. The major emphasis should not be on implementation of legislation and that increasingly undermines the rights of all citizens.
Crime and violence is a problem that affects every citizen’s personal security. It is a problem that makes each one of us feel insecure, everywhere, all the time; it is a problem that forces each of us to retreat into so called safe zones, behind high walls, shut up windows, and to stay off the streets after dark. Insecurity causes us all to retreat from normal interaction with each other; insecurity is killing activism and volunteerism; Violence is common place in schools which serves to further undermine our education system; High rates of incarceration is putting a strain on the prison services while clearly having no deterrent effect on the spiralling rates of violent crime.
The COP recognises that crime and violence are a multidimensional problem and only a multidimensional solution will bring about any change in the nationwide state of insecurity. Communities have to be strengthened to become resilient to gang warfare and to become agents of change in the national battle against violence. Even while our protective services are improved by giving more resources, better training and improved management capacity to the police, the health care system and social services also have to be resourced and re-equipped to become agents of violence prevention working in tandem with the protective services.