The Guyana Police Force on Wednesday released its annual crime statistics, which show that there was an overall reduction in serious crimes from January 1 to November 13, 2023.
However, Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum says the number of murders in the country during this period increased by 18.7%.
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 of 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.
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. 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 in robberies as they have been doing in the past… Let me assure you that we will continue to address these issues with utmost priority.”