Crime Information for Tourists in Guyana

Serious crime, including murder and armed robbery, continues to be a major problem. The murder rate in Guyana is three times higher than the murder rate in the United States.

Armed robberies continue to occur intermittently, especially in major business and shopping districts. Hotel room strong-arm break-ins also occur; you should use caution when opening your hotel room doors and should safeguard any valuables left in hotel rooms. Criminals may act brazenly, and police officers themselves have been the victims of assaults and shootings. When traveling in a vehicle you should keep the doors locked and be aware of your surroundings at all times.

Pick pocketing, purse snatching, assault, and robbery can occur in all areas of Georgetown. The sea wall, from east of the Pegasus Hotel extending to Sheriff Street and adjacent areas, has been the site of several crimes; you should avoid these areas after dark. As cars parked in Georgetown have been subject to theft, you are urged to avoid leaving any valuables in vehicles left unattended and are encouraged to lock your vehicles at all times (when in or out of the vehicle). The National Park in Georgetown and the seawall from Sheriff Road to UG Road are frequented by joggers, dog walkers, and families and are generally considered safe during daylight hours but are not recommended at all after dusk.

Petty crimes also occur in the general area of Stabroek Market and to a lesser extent in the area behind Bourda Market. Care should be taken to safeguard personal property when shopping in these markets. The area around St. George's cathedral is known for having pickpockets and should be avoided after dark. Guyana's commercial downtown between Main Street and Water Street from Lamaha Road to Stabroek Market, including "Tiger Bay," is largely deserted outside of business hours and should be avoided after dark. U.S. passports and permanent residency cards are prized by thieves, as they may be used for smuggling and identity theft.

You should avoid walking around Georgetown alone, even in the main areas and especially after dark. Although bandits have been known to attack taxis, they are generally safe and remain the safest means of getting around town and to and from the airport. Only use taxis that are connected to major hotels or are painted yellow. All yellow taxies are registered with the Government of Guyana's licensing office. Exercise constant vigilance, and prior to entering any taxi, make note of the vehicle's license plate. This can be used to track down the driver in the event of being overcharged or if luggage is lost. Do not dress ostentatiously, as there have also been reports of gold chains or other jewelry being snatched off of pedestrians.

Local law-enforcement authorities are generally cooperative but lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents. Nevertheless, if you are a victim of crime you are encouraged to contact the police as well as the American Citizens Services Unit of the U.S. Embassy's Consular Section.

Don't buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, if you purchase them you may also be breaking local law.

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