Police grappling with street crime in Georgetown – Commander admits

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Commander of Regional Division 4 'A' Superintendent Simon Mc Bean

The capital city of Georgetown’s foremost law and order problem remains the rampant street crimes, with armed and unarmed criminals striking during traffic jams, accosting citizens on the streets, businesses as well as in crowded public places.

This is according to the Regional Division 4 ‘A’ Commander, Superintendent Simon Mc Bean, who has vowed to crack down on the menace, by continuing to increase Police presence in and around the city.

“We have increased our presence in both market areas and Regent Street…” McBean said during an episode of “Police and You”.

Only recently former Police Commissioner Nigel Hoppie stated that so far there has been a 16 per cent decline in serious crimes when compared to the corresponding period last year.
The reduction in serious crimes committed, according to the Police report, is the lowest figure recorded over a 10-year period.

Even though the efforts launched for the year have yielded results in bringing down the levels of heinous crimes such as murders, unfortunately, the level of street crime, including mobile snatching and theft of vehicles, has either remained the same or increased slightly.

Around this time last year, vendors who trade around the Stabroek Market had voiced concerns about the increase in robberies there. Some vendors had told this publication that this has had an impact on sales in the area, and persons were diverting their patronage due to criminal elements.

Nevertheless, to deal with this challenge, Commander Mc Bean said he is focusing on developing youth groups in various communities with the aim of curbing this issue. He believes that once more attention is given to youths in high-risk areas, the issue of crime can be nipped in the bud.

“We are working on some areas. I would call them high-risk areas. Areas like Tiger Bay, Albouystown, Sophia, Agricola. In those areas, we are in the advanced stages of creating working and community groups…”, he explained.

He also said that he is hoping to partner with persons in those communities to analyse some of the issues they are facing, and later come up with strategies to deal with them.
“We also want to partner with the private sectors to see how we can solve these problems jointly and not just the Police going to say that we are doing this…” he said.

Just last month the US Embassy in Guyana issued a security warning to its staff and citizens, to be careful in the capital city. Shortly after, the Guyana Police Force (GPF) conducted a walkabout of the Stabroek Market area to begin mapping out strategies for better policing in Georgetown.

The embassy’s statement said, “The city of Georgetown is rated “critical” for crime.

Incidents of robberies, sexual assault, vehicle accidents, and homicides have occurred, particularly in high-risk areas after dark. U.S. mission personnel may not independently visit Stabroek Market. Furthermore, mission personnel have been advised to use extreme caution when visiting Bourda Market during the day, and may not independently visit Bourda Market at night”.

One day later, the GPF issued a statement, noting that plans are “apace to bring safety to market thoroughfares in the city”.