President Irfaan Ali during his address to the nation on Friday presented crime statistics and pointed out that crime has seen an overall 19.4 per cent decrease from 2020 to 2021.
This, he said, has been achieved although the PPP Government inherited the Guyana Police Force (GPF) with more than 90 per cent of its vehicular assets not functioning.
Despite this decrease in crime nationwide, President Ali noted that Regions One, Six, Seven, and Nine have seen increases. He said that the GPF would tailor specific policies and programmes to deal with the increases at a region-to-region level.
According to him, Region Four A—an area that the Police have often had difficulties with in the past—has recorded the largest decrease—43.4 per cent. The statistics, President Ali said, show that areas covered under the Safe City Programme are showing better crime-fighting results.
To address all the regions, he said, the Government will develop a ‘Safe Country Programme” that will see the entire country connected to CCTV cameras which will be monitored by the relevant authorities. The aim of this, he pointed out, is to have a proactive approach to crime-fighting.
President Ali also said that the Government is mulling incentivising crime-fighting where good performance will be differentiated.
The Head of State added that investments will be made in intelligence gathering to further the Government’s agenda of promoting proactive police work. He explained that the Police Force often faces a lot of criticism, and does put in detailed work to develop its strategy and information gathering. To enhance this, it must be community-centred and community-oriented, he noted.
The President stressed that the GPF must also enhance its trust between the force and the community.
Additional statistics indicated that there has been a decrease in robbery under-arms and robbery with aggravation at 32.4 per cent and 44.7 per cent, respectively.
However, he noted that rape has had an increase of 55 per cent and will be an issue that “we have to get tough on” and see tremendous improvement. The President said that in addition to basic crime statistics, the GPF has also been taking detailed statistics to improve the way it targets crime-fighting.
He pointed out that not only have the Police made records of crimes committed on individual days of the week—with Saturday being the most “high risk” day, the Police have also recorded the specific time of the day that crime peaks. “This is the level of analysis that we are doing now to have a more structured and targeted approach to crime-fighting.”
President Ali also explained that there is a notion that the GPF does not solve crimes, especially the more serious ones. He, however, pointed out that the force’s rate of prosecution is one of the best in the Region. He noted that this year there has been a 6.5 per cent increase in prosecutions for murder, which represents 68.1 per cent of the murders that have been committed.
The President admitted that there are challenges and noted that while crime has statistically decreased from last year, the Government is still not satisfied.
“One single crime is too much crime….We’re not hiding from any issues. You do not have a President who will hide from any issue. I am going to be upfront in dealing with every issue that challenges the people of this country. I’m committed to working every single day to make your lives better.”