Decrease in murders, other criminal activities this year -deputy crime chief

There has been a 26.6% decrease in murders in 2007 as compared to last year and an overall decrease in criminal activities.

Deputy Crime Chief Seelall Persaud announced these figures on the occasion of the launch of the Guyana Police Force’s 2007 Christmas policing plan on Thursday last at the Police Officers Mess.

Figures show that from January 1 to October 31, 2006, there were 135 murders, while for the corresponding period this year there were only 99 murders. Twelve of the murders this year were carried out execution style; 24 occurred during robberies; 17 were of a domestic character; 30 occurred as a consequence of disorderly conduct; 13 were unknown; and 3 were committed after rapes.

For the respective Divisions, ‘A’ Division had 36 murders; ‘B’ 16; ‘C’ 14; ‘D’ seven; ‘E & F’ 22; and ‘G’, four.

As far as robberies were concerned, in 2006 there was a total of 1,454 as opposed to 1,094 this year.

There has been an increase in the number of illegal firearms seized from last year to this year. A total of 126 illegal guns was seized so far this year as compared to 119 last year, pistols accounting for a large percentage of the seizures. According to the Deputy Crime Chief, the weapons seized this year were found during house raids, road-blocks and other intelligence-led operations.

Senior Superintendent Persaud also highlighted some of the force’s major achievements in fighting crime so far for the year. These include the arrest of the perpetrators of a $90M diamond robbery; the arrest of a three-man gang on the East Bank of Demerara and a four-man gang on the Essequibo Coast, among others.

In March this year a $90M diamond robbery was committed in Main Street. The security guard employed by the victim, his son, and one other were later arrested and charged. Two unlicensed firearms were seized during the arrests. Three motor cars purchased from proceeds of the robbery were also seized. The son and the other person were on bail for other robberies at the time this one was committed. In June 2007, a three-man gang which had committed armed robberies on the East Bank of Berbice were arrested in possession of a firearm and ammunition and subsequently charged with three counts of robbery under arms and with possession of firearm and ammunition without a licence. In September, 2007, members of a three-man gang committing armed robberies in homes in Corentyne were arrested and charged with two such robberies.

In September 2007, a three-man gang which carried out armed robberies on homes in the Mahaica Area, ECD, were arrested and charged with two such offences. In October 2007, a four-man gang operating in streets between Coldingen and Lusignan, ECD, were arrested and charged with three counts of robbery under arms committed on homes, and that same month four men and a woman who had committed an armed robbery on a grocery store on the Essequibo Coast were arrested at a police roadblock in possession of an M16 rifle. Three of the men were charged with a similar robbery under arms committed in a bar on the Corentyne, and one of them along with others was charged with four high-profile robberies committed on businesses in ‘A’ Division.

All in all Persaud said the force was confident with what it had achieved so far with the assistance of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF). However, there still remained challenges including the remaining elements of the infamous Buxton/Agricola gang, the recovery of the outstanding AK-47 rifles which went missing from the army, and the presence of other illegal weapons.

Persaud said that all this had been done with the assistance of other local law enforcement agencies, the Joint Services, liaison officers, Interpol, border commissions and task forces. He said these agencies had since pledged their continuing support in assisting with the fight against crime.

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