Canadian High Commissioner to Guyana, Pierre Giroux, said there is need for some studies to be carried out to make a determination of Guyana’s actual crime rate.
The Ambassador was responding to questions posed by the Guyana Times newspaper during an exclusive interview at his office on Tuesday.
While monthly statistics from the Guyana Police Force (GPF) suggest decreases in criminal activities, concerns continue to mount over what seems to be growing incidences of crime in various categories.
Asked to comment on the situation, the High Commissioner said he does not know the country that well to understand the dynamics, but suggested that studies should be done to understand the phenomenon involved.
According to the Ambassador, the gathering of crime statistics is rather complicated.
“Let’s assume there is a society where 100 crimes are committed and people do not report the crime. So they report 30 of the 100. You have the impression that crime is under control, but its more, it’s actually 100. Now let’s assume that we now have a situation where Government improves the justice system for crime. It now goes from 100 to 90, so there has been an improvement, but then this gives confidence to people and they start reporting more.”
He continued, “So suddenly your crime reporting increases. It goes from 30 to 50, but actually your total crime was reduced by 10.”
The High Commissioner said what is not known is what phenomenon is being observed.
“Is the actual crime rate reducing, or is it because people are reporting more crime? So what we need is much more studies to have an assessment… To answer your question, I don’t know. Is the crime really increasing or is it reducing because people are reporting or is it increasing because people are reporting more than they do.”
He said he hopes that it’s the latter, that the crime rate is really being reduced in total absolute numbers. He said, however, that the relative numbers might increase because people are reporting more, which would seem to indicate that the people have more confidence.
“It is something that I don’t know the country to understand the dynamics of when people are the object of a crime, what do they do. Do they go to the Police and report it, or they don’t report?” he said.
Earlier this month, the Guyana Police Force (GPF) reported a 21 per cent reduction in serious crime when compared to the same period last year.
This announcement came in for much criticism as many debunk this revelation as far from the truth. One such criticism came from Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo who questioned the statistics.
“On one hand you are hearing that there is no increase in crime, then on the other the sycophant contradicts them and says it is happening,” Jagdeo noted.
According to the Police Force, in its monthly statistics for September, there was a nine per cent decline in reports of murder cases with 105 cases in 2016, relative to the same period last year which had 115 cases listed.
With regards to robberies, it was disclosed that gun-related robberies saw a five per cent decrease with 563 cases this year compared to 592 cases last year; while there was a 17 per cent decline in robberies with other instruments, which recorded 235 cases this year against 284 last year.
Additionally, robberies with no instruments saw a 15 per cent reduction with 33 cases in 2016 compared to 39 in 2015; while robberies with violence recorded a 25 per cent decrease with 76 cases in this year, against 102 last year, and robberies with aggravation reduced by four per cent, recording 52 cases this year and 54 in 2015.
Moreover, there was a 19 per cent decline in rape cases during the comparative period between this year, which recorded 204 cases, and last year when 251 cases were listed.
Furthermore, the Police Force reported that some 67 illegal firearms were seized during this period; that is, 29 pistols, 21 revolvers and 17 shotguns. Last year, a total of 89 firearms were seized by the Police. It was reported too that the Force has maintained consistency in clearing up serious crime cases from January to September. During this time, there were 2497 cases reported, of which 535 were cleared up, thus reflecting 21 per cent. According to the Force, the consistent and continuous reduction in serious crimes is an indication that the strategies are working well, have yielded and will continue to yield positive results, thereby assuring all citizens that their collaborative effort in partnering with law enforcement is vital. In fact, when questioned at a press conference recently about the public perception that crime might be on the increase and not declining as being touted by the Force, acting Police Commissioner David Ramnarine had explained that the situation is not as extreme as being perceived.