Photo: Guyana Goverment Information Services. Mounted police have been patrolling markets, presumably as a deterrent to robbers who might seek to rob merchants.

GEORGETOWN, Guyana–November 22nd,2020–The Guyana Police Force (GPF) is ramping up its efforts to ensure that citizens are safe while conducting business during the Christmas season.

Members of the GPF’s Mounted Branch and Canine Section today conducted patrols with horses and dogs at the Stabroek Market and Vendors Arcade. It is not clear exactly what they were looking for, or whether they just wanted a show of force to deter criminals.

According to the United States Overseas Security Advisory Council and the US Department of State in its warning for travelers, the general crime rate in Guyana is above the U.S. national average. Criminal activity continues to be a major issue. Serious crimes such as murder and armed robbery, are common.

The most recent information from theUN Office on Drugs and Crime for 2018 reports that the homicide rate has dropped from 18.4 to 14.8 cases per 100,000 people. Most murders involve spousal domestic disputes–more often female victims–and substance abuse.

Street robberies and home invasions are rampant. Most robberies are crimes of opportunity and occur often due to inadequate police presence and poor police response.

Guyana has the fourth-highest murder rate in South America, behind only Colombia, Venezuela and Brazil. Guyana’s murder rate is four times higher than that of the U.S.

Criminals regularly use weapons, despite a rigorous licensing requirement for the average person to own firearms. Handguns, knives, machetes, or cutlasses tend to be the weapons of choice. Armed robberies including car jackings occur regularly, especially in businesses and shopping districts.

Armed robberies of business/patron establishments occur frequently in Georgetown. Criminals may act brazenly, and police officers have been both victims and perpetrators of assaults and shootings.

Criminals are increasingly willing to resort to violence while committing all types of crimes. If an armed criminal confronts you, do not argue or attempt to confront them. Quickly relinquish your valuables and do not resist, unless you believe your life is in imminent danger.

Criminals are often organized, travel in groups of two or more, and conduct surveillance on their targets. Criminals generally will not hesitate to show multiple weapons as an intimidation tactic during a robbery. Periodically, there are reports of robberies/attacks on U.S. citizens and in areas expatriates frequent.