The police have not unveiled their plans for the security of the city for the Christmas holidays. Routinely the police would summon the media and would unfurl out the plans to cover the city during the holiday season.
And there was need for the police to intensify patrols in and around the city. Guyanese are insanely actively walking with large sums of money to make purchases. Guyana has a paper economy so it is not unusual to hear that people walk with as much as $4 million in cash. Because of the bulk, they would either have the money in large shoulder bags or in their vehicles.
Neither is safe. The criminals are aware of the large sums of money on people and they prey on them. Outside of the Christmas holidays we hear of people forcing their way into vehicles and removing currency. We also hear of bandits accosting people shortly after they would leave the commercial banks.
People tend to have more money at Christmas time so criminal activities are more prevalent. Because of this the police would not only mount increasing patrols, they would also station ranks at strategic locations. And this has been working over the years.
By talking to the press the police would be advertising their modus operandi. The criminals would automatically know that certain areas would be out of bounds. It would have been interesting to see the statistics. We are likely to believe that during the period of the intensified police patrols there would be a drop in armed robberies in the city.
This year, though, there has been no such announcement. We believe that the intensified patrols for the Christmas season this year have been in place for the recently-concluded elections. All the police needed to do was to extend the operations to include the Christmas season.
There is one thing that the failed meeting with the press has done is to prevent the nation from reviewing the crime situation in the country. Last year, we noticed a sharp increase in the hinterland regions where violent crimes were negligible. This is because gunmen have decided that it is easier to target the porkknockers and other miners in the wide open interior where police presence is almost non-existent.
A few months ago disaster befell one criminal gang. Some of the members drowned in the rapids in the Mazaruni River and the others are now in police custody. Indeed, the dismantling of this gang saw a drop in gun crimes in the gold fields. The statistics would surely reveal this.
It is unfortunate that the police do not seem to have a department that would readily release figures of crime across the country. Surely, they helped people to recognize their situation and to take the necessary precautions.
But it is the Christmas shopping that now grabs the attention. Last week, a man was bold enough to rob a woman on Regent Street in full view of the public. He managed to escape. There is a feeling though, that his freedom would soon be curtailed because the police have drastically increased the rate at which they solve crimes.
It would be interesting to note the extent to which murders have increased in the hinterland and declined along coastal Guyana. It would also be interesting to measure the impact of the heightened police operations in those areas once considered hotbeds of crime.
At this time of the year we also review the operations of the Police Traffic Department. We know of the allegations of corruption and we know that on the streets investigations into some road accidents were so bungled that many offenders walked free.
We know that more people have died on the roads this year than last year. We would be interested in the number of prosecutions made.
Surely the elections cannot be enough to prevent the police from reviewing its operations during the past year.
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