"East Port of Spain isa country within a country," says Inspector Elvin Reid. "It is just different."
The city's main problem is homicides, says Reid, a member of the Inter Agency Task Force, a division of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service.
"Most of our homicides are gang related. We have two active gangs in our area of operation. And all this has come about because of what we have called border wars. If you cross the border you can die. You’ll be shot, you’ll be killed."
In the midst of all of this is Ryan Assing, a high school student who wants to work hard and make his parents proud. "I just want to be somebody in life," he says. He faces numerous challenges because of the neighborhood he lives in including finding transportation to school. Taxi drivers are hesitant to visit his area, fearful of gang violence.
A member of the Trinidad and Tobago Cadet Force, Ryan goes to drill formation after school every day to lead the band in practice.
"What I want to do after school is join the Coast Guard or Fire Service anything to do with right now to do with protect and serve for the country that is my goal."
Ryan participates in the Resistance and Prevention Program (RAPP), which is funded by the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) and implemented by PADF. RAPP seeks to engage communities. The program reaches out to police officers, social workers, government officials, parents and youth themselves in order to tackle the root causes of crime.
"It’s all preventing the younger ones from getting into this position of dealing with crime. If this program reach big, which it will reach big, it will help out a lot because we're looking at the younger ones' future."