5 Ways To Reduce The Risk Of Sexual Assault

sexualassault

According to the US Embassy in Trinidad & Tobago, there were 46 reports of rape, incest and other sexual offenses recorded in this category for the month of January 2017.

It means there was a 119% increase over the 21 reports recorded during the previous month of December, 2016. The 46 reports in January, 2017 represent a 9.5% increase over the 42 reports in this category reported during the corresponding month of January, 2016. These statistics are alarming for a small country such as ours.

Sexual Assault Statistics

There are many types of sexual assault but this article will deal specifically with sexual assault done by strangers. It is a serious crime that can affect the lives of anyone no matter their age, gender, profession or social background.

The following are some useful tips that can help lessen the chances of being assaulted in Trinidad & Tobago.

NEVER WALK/JOG/RUN ALONE

We are living in times where we have to protect ourselves at all times. Walking and jogging alone, especially after dark has become an unsafe activity regardless of the area. Therefore, please take the necessary precautions. Bringing one or two friends along can minimize the risks and allows you to spend some quality time with them.

KEEP CAR WINDOWS UP AND DOORS LOCKED

Be aware of your surroundings at all times especially when you return to your car. Avoid using your phone or listening to music. Perpetrators will be seeking opportunities of distraction on your part to attack, therefore all your senses should be focus on getting inside the car and locking all doors and windows and drive away without lingering around.

ALWAYS CLOSE AND LOCK YOUR DOOR AT HOME

Sometimes, it might feel like you are living inside a prison cell. But the truth is that the criminal element often times is stalking their victims before attacking them. Make it a habit to close and locks your doors no matter the time of the day. Sexual assault happens at any time during the day. Change your routine often so you don’t indirectly provide information about your whereabouts.

CHECK WHO IS AT THE DOOR BEFORE OPENING

Consider investing in a peephole to help you determine who is behind the door. Do not open the door if you are unable to recognize the person. If they are wearing any type of uniform (police, WASA, T&TEC) ask for identification first and if possible, make a quick call to find out if these companies have sent any employees or officers to your area.

NEVER POST YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION ON SOCIAL MEDIA

We see it all the time, people tagging their location on Facebook and Instagram along with statuses that read “I am alone at home” or similar. It is a very unsafe practice. Use social media wisely.

DO NOT MEET STRANGERS ONLINE

There are many individuals who meet strangers online, and they are sexually assaulted the same day. Be careful. It does not matter what the person might look like or where they come from, when you talk to someone online you really don’t know who you will be meeting in person. If you must, carry a friend with you. Never go alone.

If you go to parties often, be aware of your alcohol consumption and keep an eye on your drinks at all times. It is not uncommon for criminals to add drugs to the drinks of their potential victims in order to make them incoherent so they assault them later. Be observant. Pay attention to your surroundings.

Most importantly, don’t be afraid to be assertive. Perpetrators look for easy targets and one of the many ways you can emphasize that assertiveness is by not only looking the part but also by taking an active role in learning how to defend yourself. If possible, take a self-defense course that can empower you.

Don’t live in fear, enjoy life and take the necessary precautions.

Domestic Violence in Trinidad & Tobago

domesticviolenceThe statistics of domestic violence in Trinidad & Tobago are beyond terrifying.

According to Margaret Sampson Browne (TTPS Victim & Witness Support Unit) for the period between 2005 and 2015, almost 300 women were killed due to domestic abuse while there are over 7 thousand reported cases of domestic abuse between 2008 and 2015.

Domestic Violence Statistics

Lynette Seebaran Suite, Chairman of the Equal Opportunity Commission (EOC) stated that in 2017 of the 52 women murdered, 43 of these were due to domestic violence and in the first quarter of 2018 over 15 deaths have been recorded thus far.

Domestic Violence 2017-2018

The numbers do not seem to be decreasing. The big elephant in the room is a serious discussion on the causes of domestic violence. No one wakes up one day and starts beating their spouse, girlfriend or boyfriend to death.

WHAT CAUSES DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Abusers learn violent behaviour from their own families and from the community. Of course, this is in no way an attempt to justify their abusive and criminal acts which should be dealt with immediately and in the strongest terms, but rather to understand the causes in order to put things in place to prevent more deaths. Nothing justifies the actions of an abuser under any circumstances.

We live in a very angry society. The perfect example is when you are on the road and you witness a very disturbing trend: Angry people behaving like hooligans. Shouting, insulting, cussing and even pulling guns or cutlasses for the smallest things. It seems like we forgot how to communicate with each other and dialogue isn’t even part of our everyday approach to disagreement.

Many individuals in our society are victims of domestic violence without realising it. Even though physical abuse is one form of domestic violence there is also psychological abuse and controlling behaviours. Most of the time, some of these characteristics are downplayed and justified as “jealousy” and the victim ends up being blamed for the partner’s violent behaviour and tendencies.

WARNING SIGNS

Let’s go through some warning signs that can help to protect yourself and others:

Your partner/spouse mistreats you, abuses you by doing the following:

  1. Accuses you of having an affair constantly.
  2. Criticizes everything you do, including name-calling.
  3. Punches the wall, throw objects, and seems mentally unstable.
  4. Threatens to hurt you, kill you or your children/family.
  5. Makes you feel worthless, stupid and yells as the main form of communication.
  6. Controls every single aspect of the family’s finances without your input.
  7. Even though you work, he gives you an “allowance” where you must justify every single expenditure.
  8. Stops you from wanting to work outside the home.
  9. Stalks you, checks where you are and who you are with at all times.
  10. Hits, pushes, pull hair, punches.
  11. Locks you inside the home until his return.
  12. Forces you to have sex.

If you are a victim of domestic violence, please understand that the abuse will NOT stop no matter how many “chances” you might give your partner or how “regretful” your spouse might look like. The abuse will ONLY stop once you get away from an abusive relationship.

You are NOT alone. Please contact 999.

SHELTERS

(Diego Martin) Four Roads Police Community Facility (632-3463)

(Arima) Nkevah Centre  (667-5353)

(Sangre Grande) Goshen House (battered women and teenage pregnancy) (642-1693)

(Sangre Grande) Mizapeh Halfway House (668-3897)

(Chaguanas) Hope Shelter (672-5620)

(Tobago) Towers Safe House  (639-4620)

(Gasparillo) Halfway House (657-9114)

(Central) Social Establishment for the Welfare of All (679-4649)

(Siparia) Medinah House 657-2753 (Boys under 12, girls under 16)

(La Brea) Vision of Hope 648-7730 (Boys under 12)

(Rio Claro) Myrtle’s Place (331-6450)

(San Juan) Home for Family Reconciliation (674-3088)

How To Protect Your Car From Being Stolen

cartheftSo you buy a car and you are excited about driving it, after all you worked very hard to purchase it. But there is always that concern in the back of your mind about safety.

What about if they steal your car? Sometimes that worry turns into anxiety and the fun of driving ends rather quickly. But are your concerns valid?

Well, there has been an alarming increase in the number of vehicles stolen in Trinidad. According to the Trinidad Express Newspaper:

For the period January 1st to May 5th 2018, compared to the same period in 2017, larceny motor vehicle decreased by 46%, as there were 317 recorded reports, in 2017, compared to 172 reports in 2018. However, for robberies of motor vehicles there was an increase of 94%, as there were 62 such reports recorded, in 2017, compared to 120 reports, in 2018, for the corresponding period.

From January 1st 2018 to May 5th 2018, the Northern police division recorded 29% or 35 reports of the total reported cases, for this period, with the majority of robberies taking place at the victims’ residence. Central division and Southern division both had the second and third highest number of robberies with 23 and 21 respectively. The Eastern division also showed an increase in robbery of vehicles with 5 reports. This was a relatively quiet division in the past with respect to robbery of Motor vehicles. 49% of the robberies of motor vehicles occurred on the streets whilst 32% occurred at the victims` residence.

Larceny of Motor Vehicles 2018: For larceny motor vehicles 73 or 42% occurred at private property and 67 or 39 per cent on the streets.

Alarming Rise In Vehicle Thefts

But what can YOU do to minimize the chances of your car being stolen?

LOCK ALL YOUR WINDOWS AND DOORS

It seems obvious but you will be surprised at the amount of times people leave their car doors unlocked and their windows open. Sometimes they simply forget when running errands but other times they truly think nothing will ever happen. However, for car thieves unlocked doors and windows are an open invitation.

It takes approximately 10 seconds for a car thief to steal a vehicle. Just 10 SECONDS. Get into the habit of locking your car to avoid any unexpected ‘visitors’ or unpleasant surprises.

 PARK SMART

There are a few things you can do to discourage a car thief. Theft is all about speed. If something gets too complicated, hard or long to steal, the thief will abandon the idea immediately. After all, they will not want to be around your car for too long without looking suspicious or cause someone to contact the police.

When you park, do it in a well-lit area (particularly at night) where can be seen easily by passersby. Avoid dark or remote spots since these places tend to be the target for the criminal element. If possible, park facing the wall in a public car park. This means the thief will have to reverse in order to steal your car, it will take him/her way longer than they expected and most likely they will not be taking such a risk.

KEEP VALUABLES OUT OF SIGHT

There is nothing more tempting for a criminal than seeing laptops, purses, phone or shopping bags inside a vehicle in full display. Just because these items are inside your car, it does not mean they are safe. Keep a low profile; we live in times where we need to be cautious and smart. Being flashy can cause serious problems for your safety.

Keep all your valuables out of sight. If you have been shopping, place your bags inside the trunk. Remember, car thieves may be watching you so you need to be aware and observant of your surroundings at all times.

NEVER LEAVE YOUR VEHICLE RUNNING

Yes, even if you are simply closing down your gate or you forgot something that might take “just five seconds” to retrieve. Never, ever leave a child unattended inside your vehicle for ANY period of time. I am sure you have read countless cases of criminals stealing vehicles with a baby or toddler inside. Avoid such situations by having your children with you at all times even if you simply need to stop for “2 minutes” to buy bread. Those two minutes can turn into a nightmare very quickly.

INSTALL AN ALARM AND ANTI-THEFT DEVICES

If you’re able to afford it, install an alarm and anti-theft device so you can protect your car but also so that you can keep track of its location at all times. There is nothing that discourages more to a car thief than seeing a proper secured car.

There are tools and services out there that will notify you through your phone of any activity happening in the vicinity of your vehicle.

Some of these services (GPS) include shutting down your car from your phone if it is being stolen. They also provide rescue operations to retrieve it.

Financial times are hard, but sometimes a little investment can help you provide some temporary peace of mind.

Disclaimer: You assume all responsibility and risk for the use of the safety resources available on or through this web site.  TTCrime.com does not assume any liability for the materials, information, tips and opinions provided on, or available through, this web page. No advice or information given by TTCrime.com or its writers shall create any warranty. Reliance on such advice, information or the content of this web page is solely at your own risk, including without limitation any safety guidelines, resources or precautions related to criminality in Trinidad & Tobago.

7 Ways You Can Avoid Being Kidnapped In Trinidad & Tobago

7 Ways You Can Avoid Being Kidnapped In Trinidad & TobagoThe recent kidnapping cases that hit Trinidad & Tobago have caused great alarm among the population.

There are people that are afraid to go out because they don’t know who might be watching them or what is worse, who to trust.

Most of the time when people think about kidnapping, they think about kidnapping for ransom and particularly targeted towards the wealthy citizens in the country.

The reality is that you don’t have to be rich to be kidnapped neither all cases of kidnapping are for ransom.  A lot of cases we hear in the news of missing individuals are actually people who have been kidnapped for human trafficking purposes.

It is imperative for ALL of us to be aware and not let fear control our behaviour.  Why? Simply because if we are faced with a situation where we have to act (or not), we need to ensure all our emotions are in check so we could make the right choices and don’t jeopardise our own safety.

Let’s talk about some tips on how to avoid being abducted/kidnapped:

 SWITCH UP YOUR DAILY ROUTINE

Criminals do not plan kidnappings from one day to the next. They study their victims for weeks or even months.  Most of the time, they are successful in their planning because people usually maintain the same routine, so they know where you will be, at what time and what you will be doing. Scary, we know.  It makes their planning and execution of the crime very easily.

In order to throw them off completely, you need to change your daily routine. We know that during the week it seems hard because most of us want to avoid the absurd traffic situation in Trinidad, therefore we tend to leave around the same time.

However, it is very important that you do not do it every single day. Just unexpectedly, leave earlier or later and try a different route than the one you’re used to. Remember, criminals seek easy targets and if your routine gets too complicated, their “job” gets harder too.

DO NOT PARK IN LONELY SPOTS

 Be aware that if you’re driving alone, you want to park your car in a spot where you see the most lights, where you see the most people as well as more access to security cameras in the place you’re visiting.  Kidnappers do not like security cameras. You should avoid lonely spots at all costs.

Make sure your car doors are locked at all times and do not open the door to anyone who might look suspicious, no matter the gender or age. Trust your gut!

Leave your car immediately without taking too long checking for purse or other items. Have everything ready and handy. When returning to your car, check if anyone is following you and get inside your car quickly and lock the doors right away.

DEVELOP YOUR SENSE OF OBSERVATION

Being observant is one of those rare qualities out there but a vital one to have these days, particularly in kidnapping related situations. It is a sense that can be develop with practice and time.

When you go out, try to be aware at all times of the people who are around you (in front, on your side and behind). Do not be afraid to look around and make others aware that you’re noticing them.

Be vigilant. Avoid listening to music with earphones or doing anything that can impair your attention while in public. Remember it takes only a few seconds for criminals to strike.

If someone is stalking you or looking at you with bad intentions, do not be afraid to make FIRM eye contact. Kidnappers do not like their victims to recognise them. They want to commit their crime quickly and efficiently. When you choose to make eye contact, you are telling the criminal: “I can see YOU”.

STAY AWAY FROM YOUR PHONE

 Phones are great but they can become dangerous tools as well. We see people driving and texting and using their phones everywhere they go. Sometimes they use it while walking in the street or when returning to their car. It becomes a very expensive distraction with a high price to pay at the end if criminals attack.

Put your phone away while you’re walking, you need all your senses fully aware while in public.

It takes only a few seconds for a criminal to abduct someone. Remember, it is the surprise effect that will make their act successful. If you’re on your phone, you will have no time to defend yourself or shout for help.

 LET OTHERS KNOW WHERE YOU ARE

If you’re meeting someone for the first time, make sure to tell a friend or relative where you will be and with whom.  Even though it might be personal, your safety is paramount. Make sure to provide them with the name of the person, too if possible.  Avoid meeting strangers from social media for friendship or business transactions. If you do so, make sure to take all the necessary precautions such as not going alone and meeting them in a very public space.

SECURE YOUR OWN HOME

Kidnappers don’t always get their victims off the streets. They can sometimes do it right in your own home. A lot of kidnapping cases are actually inside jobs or acquaintances the family knows.

Be very careful who you allow to come into your home or who you hire to do jobs. Make sure your house is secure at all times by closing/locking all your doors and gates.

Make sure your windows are burglar-proof.  If you’re able, install an alarm system as well as a security camera with a monitoring feature.

 KEEP A LOW PROFILE

We live in a country where you have to be discreet about your material possessions and family’s personal information.

Keep a very low profile by not being flashy with your purchases or giving others the impression that you might be wealthy and target for kidnapping.  You do not want to stand out in a crowd; you want to be like everyone else. Be very cautious also about the type of information you choose to share with others.

Disclaimer: You assume all responsibility and risk for the use of the safety resources available on or through this web site.  TTCrime.com does not assume any liability for the materials, information, tips and opinions provided on, or available through, this web page. No advice or information given by TTCrime.com or its writers shall create any warranty. Reliance on such advice, information or the content of this web page is solely at your own risk, including without limitation any safety guidelines, resources or precautions related to criminality in Trinidad & Tobago.

Crazy Trinidad Drivers

Crazy Trinidad Drivers

I originally learned how to drive in Trinidad, however I used to drive in the USA and UK. In both foreign places driving was a pleasure. Very rare would you encounter someone erratically driving in those countries, in fact, most kept within the bounds of the law by driving at the correct speed limit, staying within their lane and being courteous.

On the other hand, driving in Trinidad is a crazy ‘heart in your hand experience’. Almost everyday I am on the road driving and everyday I encounter delinquent to risky drivers. For instance, the roads in Trinidad are poorly maintained so there are many pot holes and depressions, oncoming drivers think it is better to drive on your lane rather than slowly approach a bad piece of road in their lane.

Trinis seem to hate the use of their indicator often choosing to just turn or swerve into your lane with no forecast of what they are going to do – you are supposed to guess.

Not in all cases, however PA… and PB… series drivers with their small old cars tend to be the most reckless on the road. Often their vehicles are poorly maintained and not fit for inspection but they try to drive them like race cars. They tend to be the least road friendly and will often cut you off while driving. Trinis don’t realize that bad driving adds to the lawless mentality that is part of our nation.

I did not mention driving in Tobago as I have never driven there but I have the suspicion it is no different than what can be experienced in Trinidad. What has been your experiences in driving in Trinidad and Tobago?

Related Topics from the Crime Forum:

Trini Guide To Driving
Maxi Taxis In Trinidad
Trinidad Licensing Crimes And Scams
Trinidad Driving & Using Mobile / Texting Illegal
Trinidad And Tobago Traffic Accidents

Human Trafficking in Trinidad & Tobago

 

trafficking

Human Trafficking is nothing more than a modern day Slave Trade and it exists as a very serious problem in Trinidad & Tobago.

According to an investigation done by one media house, women from Venezuela, Colombia, Santo Domingo and the Dominican Republic are brought here illegally thinking they would get work as a waitress or secretary only to end up being forced into prostitution or indentured labor.

The Director of the Counter-Trafficking Unit in the National Security Ministry, Alana Wheeler stated that most of the cases of human trafficking in T&T have been related to sexual exploitation.

She also claimed that in December 2017, there was reported human trafficking happening in Tobago, particularly with Venezuelan women being brought in the island to engage in sexual activity with local men.

In June 2017, the US State Department gave our country an improved ranking in its Annual Trafficking in Persons Report. Trinidad & Tobago moved from the Tier 2 Watch List to Tier 2; the latter are countries whose governments, while not having fully met the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s minimum standards, are making significant efforts to do so.

Human Trafficking

Even though it is a common belief in T&T that most missing or kidnapped persons are cases of human trafficking, Ms. Wheeler stated that no missing person has ever found to have become the victim of human-trafficking in T&T.

Missing People Are Not Trafficked

According to her report, an av­er­age of 10 to 15 cas­es of hu­man traf­fick­ing are iden­ti­fied an­nu­al­ly in the country.

But what US Department of State has to say about it?

As reported over the past five years, Trinidad and Tobago is a destination, transit, and source country for adults and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor.

Women and girls from the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, and Colombia are subjected to sex trafficking in brothels and clubs, often lured by offers of legitimate employment. Because of deteriorating economic conditions in their home country, Venezuelans are particularly vulnerable.

LGBTI persons are vulnerable to sex trafficking. Many trafficking victims enter the country legally via Trinidad’s international airport, while others appear to enter illegally via small boats from Venezuela, which is only seven miles offshore.

The government reports seeing more labor traffickers from the same country of origin as their victims. Migrants from the Caribbean region and from Asia, in particular those lacking legal status, are vulnerable to forced labor in domestic service and the retail sector. Corruption in police and immigration has in the past been associated with facilitating prostitution and sex trafficking.

Report Trinidad & Tobago

Human trafficking is very real. Someone’s son, daughter, friend or baby is being targeted as we discuss this. It does not matter where the victims are from, whether they are from Trinidad, Venezuela, Colombia or China every person carries the same blood in their veins, we are all human beings.

Every individual deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. Any of us (or any of our family members) could be a victim of human trafficking. Therefore, it is within our responsibility as citizens in this country to look after one another.

What makes this type of crime unique is that often times it is hidden in plain sight but there are always red flags to look for in a victim. Please keep your eyes well open, being observant is a precious skill we should develop in order to protect ourselves and to be able to help others.

The following is a list of some characteristics portrayed by victims of human trafficking:

  1. Avoids eye contact and appears to avoid social interaction.
  2. Looks untidy, often times dirty and malnourished.
  3. Bruises are noticeable as well as other physical signs of abuse.
  4. Appears to have branding or tattoos on certain parts of the body (neck, back)
  5. Seems afraid, depressed, withdrawn, anxious or paranoid.
  6. Works excessively long or unusual hours.
  7. Sexualized behaviour.
  8. Have limited freedom of movement.
  9. Afraid of the police/authority.
  10. Have no passport of personal documents.

If you suspect someone is being a victim of human trafficking, please contact the Counter-Trafficking Unit (CTU) Hotline: 800-4288.

Highlighted Topics from our Crime Forum that address this:

Human Trafficking In Trinidad?
Sexual Harrasment in T&T
Colombian Prostitutes In Trinidad

Crime Prevention Tips

Crime Prevention TipsWe hope to establish some very handy tips to better prevent crime and / or protect yourself and your family. We hope to also acquire the latest suggested methods from the local Police forces but until then you can of course share what works for you, your opinions and / or experiences.

Avoid grief by contacting the Police at 999 to report any suspicious activity so they can make their own observations. Keep handy the numbers for Fire and Ambulance as well as teach your children the same.

Fire: 990
Police: 999
Ambulance: 811

TT Crime used to work off of our Crime Forum. Some of these specific Threads may be of help. You can also ask questions that experienced Members may be able to answer. Use at your own discretion:

Crime Tips (General)
Safety around your car
Being streetwise in Trinidad
Safety for disabled
Safety for tourists
Securing your home
Safety of your children
Safety around ATMs
Safety while shopping
Driving Safety
TTSPCA (Animal saftey)
Being safe for Carnival
Witnessing a crime
Cruelty to children
Alarm systems
Safety doors