A man was brutally attacked in his home at La Parfaite Harmonie. He was left in a bloody state and was only saved when one of his attackers pleaded with his accomplices not to kill him.
It is alleged that calls to 911 went unanswered. This is not the first time this type of report about the 911 line has been made.
A few weeks ago, thieves broke into the home of a popular public relations professional. He tried calling 911 but did not get through. It was only after he posted his ordeal on social media that he got a response from the police.
Social networks therefore are proving more effective than the emergency hotlines run by the police. Social media is also providing the gory details of criminal attacks on citizens.
Last Saturday, a person who operates a Chinese restaurant was robbed in the Bourda Market area. The man was put in a vice by two bandits and robbed while persons looked on either afraid or unwilling to come to his rescue.
One day earlier, a family at Alness, Corentye was assaulted and robbed by bandits. A 76-year-old pensioner was left in a critical condition. His wife was gun-butted to the head.
Some of the attacks have been caught on CCTV cameras. Video footage of robberies committed on a girl outside Bishop’s High School, a schoolboy walking along Garnett Street and a man in the vicinity of the No. 44 Bus Park near Stabroek Market, have all gone now viral on social media.
It is hard to imagine that there are no persons who can look at the video of those schoolchildren being robbed and not know the identity of the culprits. The video footage should be shared widely with an appeal for information on the villains.
So are the police monitoring social media and seeking to use the available footage to bring the culprits to justice? In the case of the attack on the schoolboy in Garnett Street, the culprits can be identified clearly from the footage. In the other cases, enhancement of the footage can help identify the perpetrators.
So why are the police not using social media to ask the members of the public to help them find those who committed these crimes? In other jurisdictions, the police even without video evidence send out advisories calling on persons with information to come forward.
But something as basic as that that is hardly, if ever done in Guyana. And it shows how backward policing in Guyana is.
While it is not known if the police are using social media to help bring criminals to justice, what we do know is that there is a campaign against touts. So far more than 125 persons who it is alleged were touts have been arrested since the police contend that soliciting of passengers is against the law.
Also going viral on social media is a video of two traffic police ranks seemingly shaking down a motorist. One of the ranks could be seen receiving something from the driver after he had been searched by the other rank. This evidence can be used against the ranks, but that can only happen if the police have a system of monitoring social media.
The mainstream media was quick to report on the campaign against touts but no one has yet reported on just how many of the more than 125 arrested have been charged and placed before the courts.
The police are also undergoing training in digitally mapping crime hotspots. Not only has this technology been available for years but it has been known to the police who have been mapping crime for years now.
The police should let the public know just how many of the arrested touts have been charged. They should also let the public know how they intended to use the digital mapping of crime hotspots.
Right now, the entire country is a crime hotspot. Mapping crime is not going to help when crime is so pervasive. Using the media may be a more effective strategy. The more crime is publicized the greater the chances of arrest if the police develop a strategy for using social media in crime-fighting.
In the absence of such a strategy, the public should use social media to seek to obtain information which can be helpful to the police.
The media – both social and mainstream– should be inducted into the fight against crime. That would be much more productive than place pins identifying hotspots on Google Maps. After all, what is the use of identifying hotspots when little or no action is going to be taken?
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