Significant decrease in robberies, murders recorded for 2021
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Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum
Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum

FOR the period January 1 to November 13, 2021, robberies have decreased by 428 and murders by 38, when compared with the same period in 2020.

This was disclosed by Crime Chief, Deputy Commissioner Wendell Blanhum during Monday’s launch of the Christmas Policing Plans 2021.
Based on the statistics he shared with members of the media, as of November 13, the Guyana Police Force (GPF) has recorded 638 cases of robberies compared to the 1,066 for the same period last year.

Similarly, the number of murders recorded locally decreased from 157 in 2020 to 119 in 2021.
According to Blanhum, these reductions come even as the force has a shortage of investigators. He emphasised that this has in no way affected the force’s ability to effectively carry out its duties.

“We have an inadequate amount of ranks. Before we had eight [police] divisions but then we increased the divisions. So, we have to stretch our resources, but we do have investigators in all 10 regions. Over the years, we have been operating short with regards to human resources and that’s something that we’re dealing with…It has in no way affected our performance,” he added.

The year 2021 has the lowest number of serious crimes, with 1,700 cases recorded. This figure represents the lowest in the last 10 years, the highest being 4,204 cases in 2013.

Additionally, this year also saw the third-lowest murder rate being recorded in the last 10 years.
The lowest number of robbery/murders over the 10-year period was also recorded in 2021, with the year 2019 recording 24, which is the highest in a single year.

The Crime Chief attributed the force’s success in reducing crime across the country to the introduction of several strategies which were specifically crafted to target crime.

One of the most noteworthy systems implemented by the GPF is the 24-hour monitoring of the CCTV centre which is under the force’s full control and command. The images and recordings are captured in investigations and in the prosecution of individuals who have committed serious crimes.
Blanhum noted that the system gives the GPF a strategic advantage as it allows for real-time monitoring and information disseminating to commanders and patrol officers.

He further noted that the GPF has also put into use several enhanced intelligence-gathering systems, including social crime prevention programmes (police youth groups), has deployed resources based on temporal and spatial analysis, is engaging in intelligence sharing with local, regional and international law enforcement agencies and is conducting sting operations.

Further, Blanhum noted that the prison population has increased drastically over the past year from 1,667 in 2020 to 1,907 in 2021.
Drugs and narcotics trafficking have been high on the radar of the GPF for 2021 following the seizure of 536.3 kg of cocaine, the highest amount since 2012.

The Crime Chief noted that while systems have been employed to maximise efficiency while minimising the crime rate across the country, several hurdles remain.
He explained that in the case of CCTV surveillance, some images obtained at crime scenes are of poor quality and cannot be used. He further noted that some cases are dismissed due to the absence of police witnesses.

A notable issue faced by the GPF, according to Blanhum is collusion between ranks of the force and criminal elements. He noted that for years, the force has been able to identify and is in the process of prosecuting an undisclosed number of ranks for this type of collusion.

“We have had instances where a few ranks were found to be in collusion with criminal elements. Only recently we had to prosecute a senior officer for trafficking in narcotics,” he said.

Meanwhile, regarding preparation for the hectic Christmas season, the Crime Chief said that the force plans to ensure that the crime rate remains low during the period.

He noted that one of the major systems the GPF will employ is the heightened patrols in the vicinity of commercial banks, busy shopping areas, and nightspots, which have been found to be target areas for criminal elements.

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