Police record increase in murders but overall decrease in crime
The Guyana Police Force says that over a five year period, the Force has seen an overall reduction in serious crimes.
For 2019, 2,234 serious crimes were recorded so far resulting in a -2.5% decrease. As it relates to murder, when compared to 2018 there has been an increase of 35.7%, which represents 114 murders so far for this year.
At a press conference held at the Police Headquarters in Eve Leary Friday, Crime Chief (ag) Senior Superintendent Michael Kingston said murders committed as a result of heavy drinking has been the highest category since 2015.
For 2019, 63 murders occurred as a result of heavy drinking in mostly hinterland regions.
“This is one area that is very concerning to us and therefore we are in the process of having work done with other stakeholders to have this done, in 2015 we had a total of 64, 2016 17 18 we are all over the figure of 50 and so far for 2019 we are at 63,” the Crime Chief said.
It was noted 21 persons were murdered during robberies, while 12 were killed during domestic disputes, 14 persons were murdered for unknown reasons and four were killed execution-style.
The Crime Chief said as it relates to robbery, there has been an overall decrease. In 2018 there were 1094 robberies committed; only 976 occurred so far for 2019.
However, Region 4 division accounted for more than 50% of the robbery underarms committed on the streets being the number one location.
There were 112 robberies committed in homes, 41 at business places, two in public transportation and three at sea.
Other areas of serious crime include seizure of illegal firearms which saw a reduction of 57 when compared to 2018.
It was noted that the firearms are coming mainly from neighbouring Brazil and the United States. Breaking and entering and larceny saw a major reduction. For 2018 they were 926 breaking and entering, and 593 so far for 2019.
As it relates to trafficking in persons, there were 31 reports and 29 cases for 2018 while there are 21 reports and 30 cases.
According to the Crime Chief, since the presence of US federal law enforcement agency, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) there has been a massive reduction in cocaine seizure.
For this year, only 10kg of cocaine was seized. The seizure at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport has also reduced significantly since 2015.
The eradication of cannabis has also significantly reduced this year when compared to last year. In 2018, 204.5 acres of cannabis were destroyed, for 2019 82 acres were destroyed.
However, there has been an increase in persons charged with cannabis-related offences with 48 charged in 2018 and 388 charged in 2019.
Meanwhile, the Crime Chief explained some of the challenges the Force faces in crime prevention.
“One of the challenges that we face is the area where persons are settling matters out of court with persons who would have robbed them. We also find that there is a lack of investment in security at premises where persons are moving large sums of cash, they are failing to hire competent security personnel and services.
“We also find that persons are driving around on a daily basis with two, three four million dollars to transact business, then there are challenges when there is very poor CCTV footage, you are told the cameras are not working and then if they are working it is not being placed in a strategic area.”
The Crime Chief noted that persons who have CCTV footage at their premises nearby where crimes are committed are not willing to cooperate with the police.