Putting a lid on crime
The year is less than one week old but on the criminal scene it would seem as though it is an extension of the year just concluded. There has already been one high profile robbery. Fortunately, the police responded with alacrity and were able to remove one more high-powered weapon and a quantity of ammunition from the streets.
This robbery occurred across the road from the headquarters of the Guyana Defence Force and suggests that the criminals are so full of themselves that they actually believe that they are immune from capture. As fate would have it four suspects are in custody. The worry is that they may be granted bail and continue along their merry way, perhaps killing someone next time around.
There have also been two murders and two road fatalities. Last year, too, there was one murder at the dawn of the New Year. A gunman killed a man who happened to be at a New Amsterdam gas station during a robbery.
This time one of the victims was a woman who shared her time between Guyana and the United States. Robbery did not seem to be a motive. Instead, this seemed to be a sex crime. The police have no one in custody although they detained a suspect but released him because there seemed not to be enough evidence to detain him.
By the end of the week another man died because he was stabbed during an argument. The police would record this as a disorderly murder.
There has been a lot of work on the part of the police to contain crime and correspondingly, there has been a lot on the part of the criminals to perfect their art. Many are semi-literates or illiterates whose only purpose is to go after what seems to be the valuables that another person may have. They do not commit crimes to survive in life; they seem to live only from one crime to another.
The police know this and are trying their utmost to keep up with the changing face of crime in Guyana. At one time they blamed the deportees whom they said were coming with techniques developed in the metropolis where detection and police response were much more predictable. Indeed, Guyana had expressed fears of accepting the deportees because of the possible poor response to the type of crimes they were bringing to Guyana.
That did not stop the deporting country from insisting with its programme and Guyana suffered. The law enforcers tried as best they could, often resorting to lethal violence. There has been some curbing of the hostile reaction; there has also been a greater effort at proper policing.
None can complain about the police. Using their limited resources they managed to put a lid on the volume of robberies. Over the years the criminals targeted the business places and the odd shopper. This year by an overwhelming presence the criminals were kept at bay. In cases where they actually attacked people the police were not far behind.
Yet, the society should not become complacent because of rapid police action. In societies where there is a low crime rate the very society comprising law enforcers and members of civil society, combine to fight crime. There has been some movement in this direction in Guyana and this movement could only be intensified.
This was the case yesterday when a man snatched a bag from a female bus passenger along East Bank Demerara. A public spirited citizen responded and not far behind, there were the police. The thief was shot and killed; the stolen material recovered.
Security cameras are fast becoming ubiquitous. They have now been installed at strategic locations in the city. Business places also have them and more than a few have helped solve crimes. There is one thing left. People must be more observant and they must also look out for their neighbours. The police can only do so much.
And while we laud the police for helping to preserve the society we must ask the hierarchy of the force to maintain a firm eye on those among them who are prone to indulge in criminal activities. Already for the year there was one case of two police ranks on the Corentyne being involved in criminal activities.