… who might want to spoil Christmas
Crime Chief Leslie James has issued a strong warning to criminals who might be inclined to dampen the festive season
in the city with their nefarious activities.
Speaking to a gathering from the business sector, the media and senior and junior Police Officers at the Police Officers’ Mess, Eve Leary, yesterday, James said that the Force is in a posture to deal with all those who may be inclined to take advantage of the increased commercial activities at this time of the year.
“We have news for them! Based on our posture, we will be indicting any criminal who is seeking to commit crimes on those persons who will be in our city and its environs,” the Crime Chief declared.
His position was backed up by Senior Superintendent Clifton Hicken, Commander of the Police ‘A’ Division (Georgetown and environs), who outlined strategies that will be implemented to provide security for the festive season.
Hicken spoke of increased foot, motorcycle and vehicular patrols which will operate on a 24 hour basis.
He also promised more roadblocks, while cautioning that there is bound to be some amount of inconvenience to law abiding citizens.
The Commander assured that the roadblocks will have clearly marked police vehicles, which will allay the fears of persons and prevent criminal elements from using the police posture for their own benefit.
Meanwhile, according to the Crime Chief, the objective of the Force is hinged on past experiences where it is observed that there is usually a spike in criminality, including armed robberies, at this time of the year.
Using statistics from far back as 2004 to back up his position, the Crime Chief pointed to the reduction in a number of categories of crimes, and attributed it to the heightened enforcement by the Guyana Police Force.
He noted that through the efforts of the Guyana Police Force, criminal activity has been significantly brought down from the highs of the early to mid 2000s.
“In 2013 to present, we have a dramatic decrease in that type of activity through our diligent work by our ranks as
we dismantled some groups….There is no way that we intend to go back to that position in 2004, where we had 4542 serious crimes,” James announced.
But so far this year, the Guyana Police Force has recorded 996 incidents of robbery under arms, an eight per cent increase over the figure for the same period in 2013.
The police figures revealed that the most serious crimes, 54 per cent, were committed in the police A Division, in which 41 percent of Guyana’s population resides, and where the hub of the country’s commercial activities takes place.
With respect to murders, the force is hard pressed to arrest the seven percent increase over last year’s figure.
So far there have been 119 murders, eight more than for the corresponding period in 2013.
However the crime chief sought to provide some comfort by pointing out that this year’s high murder rate is relatively less than what obtained a decade ago and less than the average rate in South America and some countries the Caribbean.
He referred to a World Bank Report, which showed that Guyana’s murder rate for 2012 and 2013 were 19 and 21 respectively for every 100,000 persons, compared with Jamaica with 30, Trinidad and Tobago, 30, and Columbia also with 30.
“I know there are times when it is felt that the murder rate in Guyana is very high, but with this report it clearly shows, comparatively, within South America and the Caribbean, we are well within,” the Crime Chief stated.
Again James pointed to the period immediately after the 2002 jail break, when Guyana’s murder rate was threatening to spiral out of control as he established that the force has been able to put the brakes on this type of criminal activity.
“There was a significant decrease in 2007, it went up again in 2008, significant drop in 2009, and if I can move to 2013, we’ve seen a move from 155 to 199 at the close of October 31st this year,” the Crime Chief stated.
He noted that armed robberies accounted for 22 murders, a 10 percent increase from the same period last year.
In light of this the Crime Chief urged that the business community, especially take great precaution to safeguard their property and lives.
“If you have a $500M business, you ought not to have a $50,000 security arrangement,” he said.
Both he and Commander Hicken pointed out that if the necessary precautions are taken and persons cooperate with the police, there is no reason why citizens cannot enjoy an almost incident free Christmas season.
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