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Crime analysis
« on: February 15, 2012, 12:33:50 PM »
A very interesting paper, well worth the read!  Please click the link to read the full 16 page paper..really an excellent read, gives great perspective and undersatnding

A Time-Series Analysis of Crime in Trinidad and Tobago

Sandra Sookram*
Maukesh Basdeo**
Kerry Sumesar-Rai**
George Saridakis***

* Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies
The University of the West Indies

**Department of Behavioural Sciences
The University of the West Indies

*** The Business School
Loughborough University
SALISES Publications • Working Papers

Paper 2009:20


What should be done about crime is a matter of heated debate: popular, political, and
academic. Alternatively, one might treat crime control as an ordinary policy issue, like
transportation or the control of pollution, in which policies are to be judged by their
outcomes, including their costs. In Trinidad and Tobago the policy agenda and the public are
demanding stronger measures to deal with rising crime. This paper evaluates empirically the
effect of the criminal justice system and socio-economic conditions on serious crime (which
includes both property and violent crime) in Trinidad and Tobago over the period 1970-2007.
Our study finds that the crime detection rate, unemployment rate, the percentage of females
in the labour force and the percentage of the labour force with tertiary education are very
important in determining criminal behaviour.

Keywords: Crime, Trinidad and Tobago, Time-Series
JEL classification: I2, K42

1. Introduction
The 2007 World Bank report revealed that murder rates in the Caribbean region is
higher than in any other part of the world. In particular, Trinidad and Tobago (T&T),
a unitary state in the Caribbean region, that has seen its overall crime rate escalating at
a phenomenal rate especially within the last decade. At the same time, crime detection
has been experiencing a significant drop (it accounts to about 42% for serious crime)
which may explain the dramatic increase in crime and delinquency in the 2000s. More
recently Mohammed et al. (2009) indicate that past victimization, especially when no
police action was taken to arrest the perpetrator, perpetuated and increased the
perceived fear of crime in T&T. Nevertheless, research on criminal activity in
Trinidad and Tobago (and the Caribbean) has been generally scarce.

This is therefore a timely paper that aims to examine the effect of police crime
detection measured by the proportion of crimes which are cleared up and various
socio-economic factors on crime rates in T&T over the last four decades. Serious
crime and some specific crimes are examined in this literature. Our modelling strategy
is based mainly on the economic crime literature, which developed following Becker
(1968) and Ehrlich (1973) path-breaking work, and to a lesser extent references to
criminological literature are also made. Our empirical methodology is based on
Johansen’s (1995 and 1998) procedure, which is the most commonly used system
method in cointegration analysis.

The rest of the paper is organised as follows: in section 2 we examine the main
characteristics of the crime rate in Trinidad and Tobago. Following this, Section 3
presents the data and an examination of the independent variables in the model.
Section 4 presents and discusses the results. The conclusions are presented in Section

2. Crime in Trinidad and Tobago: Some Stylized Details

Data collected from the Crime and Problem Analysis (CAPA) Unit of the Ministry of
National Security indicate that violent crime rose rapidly in the 1980s, began
decreasing during the mid-1990s, and rose again in the 2000s. At the same time,
property crime rose significantly in the 1970s, levelled off in the 1980s and 1990s,
and increased sharply in the 2000s. In fact, property crime by 2007 has almost
quadrupled the figure for 1970. Turning to the overall crime rate, it reached its zenith
in 1988, with a dramatic rise during the 1980s. During this decade the country was in
the trough of an economic recession, but there were more minor crimes than serious
crimes1. The incidence of minor crimes is more likely to occur during periods of
economic downturns when social and political instability seem more likely to occur.
It was only in the 1970s that serious crimes out-numbered minor crimes and this
pattern began to reoccur in 2000s2. Significantly, these two decades represented
periods of economic prosperity. Figure 1 summarises criminal activity in T&T during
the last four decades.

Focusing on serious crime, we further discuss two of its more heinous
components, that is, murder and kidnapping. These two types of crime have
traumatised the society as they have increased significantly over the recent years. It is
possible that changes in government, with the accompanying changes in policy and
focus, could have impacted on the serious crime rate. For example, there were two
changes in government during the period 1995 to 20073. In 1994 143 murders were
committed, but by the end of 1995 the murder figures were reduced to 122. Over the
1Minor crime are all crimes carrying a penalty of under 5 years. Serious crime includes both violent
crime and property crime as well as other serious crimes, such as fraud offences, firearm offences and
narcotic offences.

2 Although from the year 1996 signs of an economic turn around were clearly visible it was not until
the second oil boom starting in 2002 that the economy fully recovered from the past recession.

3 In 1995 the opposition party attained government and in 2001 the former ruling party was once again
in government.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2012, 12:36:00 PM by truetrini SC »