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North Eastern Division Supt Ag Intab Ramjohn, left, chats with North Eastern Division Sen Supt Ag Winston Maharaj during yesterday’s TTPS media briefing at Police Administration Building, corner of Sackville and Edward Street, Port-of-Spain.

Head of the North Eastern Division Ag Snr Supt Winston Maharaj has admitted to an increase in gang activity especially along the Western border of Morvant.

Maharaj was speaking during the T&T Police Service’s (TTPS’s) media briefing yesterday at the Police Administration in Port-of-Spain.

He disclosed that in 2021 there were 62 murders compared to the significant decrease in numbers to just five this year for the same period.

Nine cases were solved in 2021 and this year, one.

“Work in progress and it is ongoing,” Maharaj said.

He noted, however, that they created a dent in 2022 where two people were fatally shot by police, who he said were “part of a greater car-stealing racket.”

“Two firearms were recovered there and investigations are ongoing,” Maharaj said.

He said firearms are the choice of murder in the division but disclosed that the division leads the TTPS overall with 80 recovered and seized in 2021 and ten in 2022 inclusive of two AR15 rifles.

“There’s a dedicated foot patrol regime in the division tasked with policing the commercial hubs, San Juan, Barataria and all the businesses associated therein,” Maharaj said.

“We also now have a coastal patrol regime to policing the coastline, the North Coast with special emphasis on weekends and public holidays as a result of reopening the beach access hours. Those patrols are there to ensure compliance with public health guidelines and are ever-present,” he added.

With respect to community policing, Maharaj said they hada vibrant community policing unit engaged with a variety of things including revisiting schools and rekindling links with schools and children to provide social intervention by working in connection with the Victims Support Unit to prevent and control crime and criminal activity in the division.

“Part of the strategy is to interact with community and stakeholders and agencies and will hold regular meetings with the San Juan Business Association and the Taxi Driver Association so we can work together to improve conditions within the division,” Maharaj said.