… say Force recorded 19% decrease, raids intensify in Berbice
By Devina Samaroo
Criminal raids three times a week, heightened Police patrols and greater presence in neighbourhoods, intensified training among Police ranks, and the resuscitation of social programmes, are all components of a crime prevention strategy that contributed to the overall 19 per cent reduction in serious crimes at the end of April, relative to the same period last year.
Senior Police officials are staunchly dismissing the widespread perception that criminal elements are becoming emboldened and that crime is spiralling out of control.
They are contending that the public perception on the crime situation is a sheer misrepresentation and that a simple glance at the statistics will prove this.
The Guyana Police Force (GPF) reported that there was a nine per cent reduction in murder; a nine per cent decrease in gun related robberies; eight per cent decrease in armed robberies where other instruments other than a gun were used by perpetrators; 38 per cent decrease in robberies with violence; 38 per cent decrease in robberies with aggravation; 18 per cent decrease in rape and 22 per cent decrease in break and enter and larceny.
According to the Police, this represents a 32 per cent decrease against those reported in March this year.
Crime in Berbice
Assistant Commander of B Division (Berbice) Ian Amsterdam, during an interview with Guyana Times also dismissed concerns raised by the local business community about the increasing crime wave in the Ancient County.
He reported that Berbice recorded 21 serious crimes, down from 34 in March, 33 in February and 41 in January.
Amsterdam maintained the regional crime plan is “definitely working”, adding that the local Police will be doubling their efforts to continue to arrest the situation.
These efforts, he said, includes working on more intelligence gathering, conducting raids in areas where criminal elements are suspected to be harbouring, and increasing patrols.
Particularly, he said much focus is being placed on clamping down on the criminal safe havens located in Rose Hall, Rosignol, Corriverton and New Amsterdam.
The Assistant Commander noted too that while the ranks are working with limited resources, they are doing the best they can to keep the crime situation under control.
Overlooking the fact that over six families were terrorised, robbed and in some instances killed within a space of one week in Berbice, Amsterdam said persons are peddling the wrong perception about the crime rate in the country.
Referring to the contentions made by the two leading Chambers of Commerce in Berbice, the Assistant Commander posited the bodies are spreading the wrong perception about crime.
“The Chambers didn’t speak to me. If they had spoken to me, I would have said that this is the wrong time to say that crime is on the increase. Maybe a month or two ago, they could have said that, but the very month that they speak is the very month that crime went down,” he stated, noting that people will believe the misinformation and disregard the statistics.
Social media users, commuters, vendors, and students alike have all raised their concerns about the noticeable upsurge in the crime situation in the country.
From the daring casino robbery to the horrific death of the two rice stalwarts in Essequibo, persons are growing more and more fearful of the roaming criminal elements.
The Berbice Chambers have criticised the Government, and in so doing received criticisms from the Government on the issue of crime in the nation.
The Chambers lambasted Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan for not getting a handle on the crime situation and more particularly, for putting the golden jubilee celebrations as top priority on his agenda.
“Government seems powerless, ineffectual, and out of their league in fighting crime. It is extremely disappointing as the coalition campaigned very strongly on this issue and we were all optimistic with all the military, ex-commissioners and other `experts’ at their disposal and now we have a situation in Berbice that is far worse than we have ever experienced. Everyone seems to be a sitting duck, as it seems every day a business is held up and residents beaten and robbed in their homes, this coupled with the depressed business environment, makes it exceedingly burdensome for businesses and ordinary citizens to cope. President Granger and the government has miserably failed the people of this country to provide protection and security”, the Chambers said in a joint statement.
They noted, however, that the only exception is the Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum, who has to be commended for his efforts in tackling crime.
Lashing back at the Chambers, the Police Association of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) declared that the organisations are ungrateful and irresponsible.
Meanwhile, the GPF boasted of the continuous exposure of its ranks to training; both locally and internationally.
There are currently 12 Assistant Superintendents of Police attached to the Dade County Police in Miami for a period of three weeks on training. This initiative will expose them to a First World approach on designing tactics and delivering on frontline functions.
For the year alone, 33 members of the Force received training overseas in various aspects of law enforcement, inclusive of a three-month course in cybercrime in India, a three-month course in Advanced Fingerprint Technology in India, and an Advanced Crime Scene Investigation Course in Russia.
Locally, 34 new entrants to the Crime Investigation Department completed a six-week training programme. This adds to 24 ranks who completed an Intelligence Gathering and Analysis Course, and 35 who attended a programme on National Protocols for Child Advocacy Centres.
Additionally, the Police Divisional Detective Officers and their second in command as well as the Officers at the CID Headquarters were trained by trainers developed by the Justice Education Society of Canada in Major Crimes Case Management and Investigation.
Furthermore, it noted that 60 new recruits have graduated from the Felix Austin Police College, adding to the 287 who graduated in February.