By Jomo Paul
[www.inewsguyana.com] – A relatively safe neighborhood, Festival City, has now become a haven for daylight and night robberies with crime increasing in the community and its environs at an alarming rate over the past weeks.
Residents in the community for the past weeks have been held hostage by armed men who prowl the community in the late hours of the night into the morning.
Just recently, a family was attacked as they were returning home from a night out in the city. That family was robbed and beaten by a group of five men, who managed to escape with little over $10,000.
Subsequent to that, the situation according to one resident worsened as there were several more instances of crimes in the community.
Over the past three weeks, more than four young women have been reportedly raped while heading home at nights. These acts are reportedly committed by a group of young men.
At the weekend, a woman was robbed, a senior citizen beaten as bandits pounced on the home of a popular businessman in the community after a party was held at his residence.
Reports indicate that on some nights, groups of men can be seen riding through the community on bicycles just after 2:00AM. Residents claim that these same men are responsible for several of the robberies committed.
One resident who spoke to iNews, Tracey Bailey said that the situation in Festival City is “very scary.”
“It’s very scary. How are you going to feel about it? They could attack anybody at anytime whether you going out or you coming in or you’re sleeping and see somebody over you. It’s very scary,” said the woman who operates a business in the community.
Another resident explained to iNews that with the recent spike in crime, efforts should be made to establish a community policing group for the area since there is only so much that the police can do.
“I feel like we need a neighbourhood watch because police are not responding to what has been going on in this area…The crimes are happening from the day to the night to the wee hours of the morning,” said Meleesa Payne, a former Miss Guyana.
The pageant queen is of the opinion that while the police are doing what they can, they need more resources.
“Police do their jobs but some people are scared to talk, they do enough when they can…When you call the police station and you hear that they don’t have a vehicle…well that’s for a higher authority,” she stated.
Recent crime statistics released by the Guyana Police Force have shown that at the end of August 2015 robbery under arms overall has increased by 3% in comparison to the same period in 2014.
The statistics indicate an increase of 4% in the number of armed robberies involving the use of firearms; while the number of armed robberies where instruments other than firearms were used by the perpetrators is similar.
Meanwhile, there has been an increase of 65% in the number of reports of rape with 271 reports at the end of August this year compared to 164 for the same period last year. Break and Enter and Larceny and Burglary have shown an overall increase of 13%.