The Powerful Ladies of Trinidad and Tobago (PLOTT) are engaged in a number of activities as we seek to raise awareness and understanding of the contributors and repercussions of the spate of aggression and violence across Trinidad and Tobago. Among these activities is this publication – our monthly crime analysis – which includes geographic, demographic and temporal analysis of the murder rate on a monthly basis, i.e. a year to date analysis at the beginning of the month as at the end of the previous month.
What are your concerns with regard to crime?
See below for our year end analysis, a review of murders as at December 31st 2016.
The Murder Toll
The murder toll figure of 458 was derived from the overall homicide figure, however adjusted to represent those where the unlawful killing of another human being was with intent (or malice aforethought), and excludes other forms of unlawful homicide, such as manslaughter.
The 458 murder toll was based on information from various sources as of 7 A.M., January 2nd, 2017.
According to the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service, the final murder toll for 2016 was 462.
The total number of murders committed in 2016 was approximately 458. The mean age of murder victims was 34 years, the youngest victim was 1 year old and the eldest was 85 years old. Most murder victims were males of African descent and the most typical weapon used was a firearm. Almost one quarter of all murder victims resided in one municipality in Trinidad, the San Juan/Laventille municipality. Although in many cases the motive for the murder was unknown, most were presumed to be “gang-related”. Gang violence typically occurs in open public areas, targets other gang members and is perpetrated by using a firearm (Small Arms Survey, 2010), this year 36.2% of murders occurred in open public spaces and 75% of victims were killed via firearm. In Trinidad many victims of gang-related crimes occur near to or at the victims’ homes as the victims are entering or leaving their homes, this is most likely because of their proximity to and instability of “gang territory”; many gang members of opposing gangs grew up in the same neighbourhood and know where one another live or frequent (Townsend, 2009; Maguire, Willis, Snipes, & Gantley, 2008).
Gangs are a key risk factor for violence and victimization in a community and is certainly the leading cause of murder in Trinidad & Tobago. Gang violence is usually defined in two ways either (1) a gang member is the victim or offender or (2) the motive of the violent act furthers the goals of the gang (Klein and Mason, 2006). Motives are typically economic, retaliatory, territorial, or aimed at social control (Small Arms Survey, 2010).
The graphs below show an analysis of 458 murders; data gathered from various sources as at 7A.M. January 1st, 2017.