By Joseph Guyler Delva
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (HCNN) -- Haiti's police chief, Godson Orélus, announced on Wednesday that only five cases of kidnapping have been recorded in Haiti from January to June 2014, compared to 44 cases at the same period last year in the Caribbean country.
Haiti's police chief, Godson Orélus
Orelus said several hundred people used to be abducted in the past years, but in the last couple of years kidnapping figures have begun to drop significantly, including a number of months with zero kidnapping.
"We have doubled our efforts to fight kidnapping and we had only five cases so far, which we have solved," Orelus told the Haitian-Caribbean News Network (HCNN), on Wednesday.
Orelus made the comments on the sidelines of a government meeting during which relevant authorities provided reports on efforts to fight criminality, corruption, contraband and drug trafficking.
According to the Haitian police chief, one person was kidnapped in January, one in February, one in March, no one was abducted in April, and two additional individuals were kidnapped in May and June.
Godson Orelus also revealed that seven cases of fake kidnapping -- involving relatives of the so-called victims who often seek to obtain money from close relatives abroad -- were counted.
"We have registered seven cases of fake kidnapping during the past six months because there are people who pretend to have been kidnapped and who ask their relatives living abroad to send them money to pay ransom," Orelus told HCNN.
Orelus said the police have dismantled 16 criminal gangs in Port-au-Prince and outside the capital, while Haiti's figures in terms of criminality are much better than those of the Dominican Republic and many other countries in the region, he said.
"It is safe to visit Haiti. Criminality has dropped significantly in Haiti as a result of the work done by the police," said Orelus.
The Haitian government has provided more weapons and logistical means to the more than 11,000-member police force to better achieve their mission.