133 murders recorded so far in 2023 – Crime Chief

– 25 more than last year

– says serious crimes down by 17.8%

The Guyana Police Force (GPF) has recorded an overall reduction in serious crimes from January 1 to November 13, 2023, but according to Head of the Criminal Investigations Department, Wendell Blanhum, the number of murders in the country during this period has increased.
Blanhum, the Force’s Deputy Commissioner – Law Enforcement, made this revelation on Wednesday during the launch of the annual Christmas Policing Plan.
The Crime Chief disclosed that a total of 133 murders were recorded so far this year compared to 108 for corresponding period in 2022.
“The number murders in Guyana increased by 25 [to 133] in the year 2023 when compared to the previous year, which is 108. In total, male victims amounted to 69.1 per cent while 30.9 per cent of the victims were females,” he stated.
According to the Crime Chief, the Police Force is particularly concerned about the high murder rates in the country especially as it relates to disorderly killings by persons who take the law into their own hands.
In fact, the statistics show that 64 of the murders recorded this year were disorderly in nature.
“Despite there being a reasonable decrease when compared with the previous years, it has been the most prevalent type of murder for this period,” he stated.
Blanhum further outlined that over the past five years, domestic-related murders peaked to an all-time high at 40 this year. This, the Crime Chief explained, was due largely to the May 21, 2023 Mahdia School Dormitory Fire in which 19 female students and a five-year-old boy were killed. A teenager has since been charged for these deaths.

Serious crimes
Meanwhile, during his update on the crime situation in the country, Blanhum also disclosed that as of November 13, serious crimes stood at 1149 compared to 1397 last year – a decline of 17.8 per cent. With the exception of murders, seven of the 10 categories of crimes recorded a decrease. The other two categories – robbery with aggravation and kidnapping – had no reports this year.
During this reporting period, ‘plain robbery’ declined by 15 per cent with 17 cases; robbery under arms dropping by 23.1 per cent with 319 cases; robbery with violence reducing by 33.9 per cent with 37 cases; and larceny from the person going down by another 33.3 per cent with 34 cases.
Armed robbery with the use of firearms was the most prevalent type of robbery with 189 reports. Regional Division 4 ’A’ (Georgetown) accounts for highest number of gun robberies during this time.
The Crime Chief noted that a temporal analysis shows that the peaks time for armed robberies is between 18:00h and midnight during which time. This analysis, he noted, helps to determine when to deploy resources effectively.
Moreover, for the other categories of serious crimes, there were 54 cases of burglary reported to date, representing a 44.8 per cent decrease while ‘break and enter and larceny’, which is the most prevalent crime occurring across the country, went down by 15.7 per cent with some 362 cases.
“We do understand the valid concerns about the rate of street crimes especially those caught on CCTV cameras and disseminated to the public via social media. On many occasions, these criminal elements are swiftly apprehended and prosecuted [but] then subsequently, they are placed on bail and they’re in the streets again,” the Crime Chief lamented.
Nevertheless, he added “Our patrol ranks will continue to be vigilant in apprehending these suspects involved robberies as they have been doing in the past… Let me assure you that we will continue to address these issues with utmost priority.”

On this note, Blanhum said efforts by the police continued this year to crackdown on illegal firearms network across the country. Consequently, during the reporting period this year, 128 illegal firearms were recovered from all 12 policing divisions across the country.
Again, Georgetown has accounted for the highest seizures of 36 illegal firearms followed Regional Division Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) with 17 firearms, Regional Division 4 ‘B’ (East Bank Demerara) with 16 and Regional Division Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) with 15.
Pistols, according to the Crime Chief, is the most prevalent weapon recovered and is the preferred type of firearm for criminals given its capacity to hold more rounds of ammunition. So far this year, some 77 pistols were recovered, 30 shotguns, 17 revolvers, three rifles and one sub-machine.
The Guyana Police Force now has access to the United States-based Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms (ATF) database in order to conduct traces of illegal firearms. As a result, the GPF has determined that most of the illegal weapons found on the local streets originated from the US, that is, 29 or 22.7 per cent and neighbouring Brazil, that is, 26 or 20.30 per cent.
The origin of some 24 seized firearms or 18.8 per cent are unknown while the other emanate from mostly European countries such as Austria, Italy, Russia, Belgium and Germany.
Meanwhile, under this new partnership with the Bureau, several local investigators recently received training from an ATF expert and from the newly established CARICOM Gun Intelligence Unit on firearms related matters.

With regards to narcotics, between January 1 to November 13 this year, some 9.9 kilograms of cocaine were discovered by the police, reflecting a decrease. As it relates to cannabis, some 1425.7 kilograms were seized this year and the Crime Chief credited this to the Force’s drug interdiction efforts.
“Cannabis seizures were due to daily operations conducted, targeting known drug blocks, checkpoints and chokepoints, and this led to the highest cannabis seizures in five years,” he noted.
The police also destroyed the highest number of marijuana plants this year with some 131 acres of fields.
From these discoveries, 188 persons have been charged and placed before the courts for cannabis trafficking and/or possession, and another 26 persons for cocaine-related offences.
On the issue of charges, the GPF continues to uphold its zero-tolerance for rouge elements. This is reflected in the fact that 14 police officers were charged this year for offences ranging from simple larceny, larceny by public officer, conspiracy to obstruct the course of justice, assault, causing bodily harm by wanton driving, obstructing the course of justice, corruption, and trafficking in narcotics.
In addition, it was also reported that there were no reports of piracy during this period. Moreover, the GPF’s Combatting Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Unit continued to work with various stakeholders to prevent this crime through a series of activities including awareness campaigns and outreaches during this period. (G-8)