Police says crime rate down by 7% despite US claims of country being at a “critical” level

As the U.S. Department of State assessed the level of crime threat in the capital city of Guyana as being “critical,” the Guyana Police Force recorded a 7% decrease in serious crimes at the end of April, 2018 relative to the same period last year.

The force noted that there was a 26% decrease in Murder; a 26% increase in Robberies where no instruments were used; a 13% increase in Robbery Under Arms where firearm were used; a 32% decrease in Robbery Under Arms where instruments other than firearm were used; a 9% decrease om Robbery with Violence; a 39% decrease in Robbery With Aggravation; a 32% decrease in Larceny From the Person; a 14% decrease in Rape; a 17% increase in Burglary and 7% decrease in Break and Enter and Larceny.

Forty-seven (47) illegal firearm have been taken off the streets so far this year, compared to forty-six (46) for the corresponding period last year, the GPF stated.

However, the force had reported that the crime rate had decreased by 19% when compared to the previous year 2015. In 2018, it is reporting that only 7% been recorded.

The assessment comes in the latest 2018 OSAC Guyana 2018 Crime & Safety Report, released by the Department on Tuesday, May 15th.

The report’s authors say Guyana, with a population of just 750,000, has a general crime rate that “is above the U.S. national average.”

It said that criminal activity continues to be a major issue, with serious crimes, such as murder and armed robbery, being common. The report added that “criminals regularly use weapons, despite a rigorous licensing requirement to own firearms.”

Handguns, knives, machetes, or cutlasses tend to be the weapons of choice, the report stated, adding that police officers have also been both victims and perpetrators of assaults and shootings.

Focusing on travel to Guyana, the US government warned that hotel room break-ins were reported to the U.S. Embassy by American citizens and warned travelers to use caution when opening their hotel room doors in Georgetown and to safeguard valuables left there.

The U.S. State Department is also advising travelers against walking alone outside after dark in the city, even in the immediate vicinity of their hotels, and advised visitors to exchange currency only at legitimate exchanges at hotels or airports.

However, travelers to Guyana are still only directed to “exercise normal precautions” when travelling to the CARICOM nation.

Drug Trafficking

The US, meanwhile, also identified drug trafficking as “a serious concern” and “the biggest challenge to law enforcement in Guyana.” The report stated that the Guyana Police Force, (GPF), has limited resource and manpower to deter or respond to criminal activity.

Focusing on the judicial system, the report said the court is strained by limited resources and often influenced by threats/bribes while defendants linked to drug organization often use attorneys who are effective in getting cases dismissed or postponed and as a result, criminals go free on a regular basis.

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