New Police Commissioner Elodio Aragon discussed the fall in reports major crime between 2009 and 2015. But the murder rate has been going up for the past three years, and with one weekend to go in October 2016, there have been 116 murders - which is an increase from last year. Whylie outlined all the major crime statistics:...
Allen Whylie, Commissioner of Police
"The statistics that we have shown that we are a little below in terms of major crimes of where we were last year. The statistics shows basically that we have one thousand; six hundred and fifty major crimes reported up to the end of September, compared to one thousand, six hundred and fifty-five for the same period in 2015. The area of concern remains the issue of murders. That area is up, where we have at the end of September we have a hundred and eight murders and..."
Jules Vasquez, 7News
"How much was it in 2015 September?"
Allen Whylie, Commissioner of Police
"In 2015 we were at a hundred and two murders. And since September to present we have had some additional murders; and so I think our murder count is at a hundred and sixteen with the recent murder that had taken place on San Pedro. And so the category of murders is what is continues to be of concern to us and we continue to review strategy. The thing about the murders is that it's not only concentrated in Belize City, but we have seen murders increase across the entire country and so it could be as a result of some displacement because of the various operations we have been doing in Belize City."
"The other statistics show that's In respect to cases of rape, we have had sixteen cases reported to date, in comparison with thirty-two in 2015; and in terms of robbery, we have had one hundred and sixty-six cases reported in comparison to one hundred and fifty-three, so again it shows that we are thirteen cases above where we were last year. In respect to the cases of robbery. In regards to burglary we've have 679 cases reported compare to 748 cases. So it shows that the issues of robbery are down. In regards to [theft], we have had six hundred and seventy-nine cases reported compared to seven hundred and forty-eight cases, so it shows that the issues of [theft] are down…And in respect to cases of [burglary], we have had six hundred and eleven cases compared to five hundred and sixty-two. It shows that robbery is also up. As I said the total statistics shows that we've had 1,650 major crimes reported up to this current time, compared to 1,655. So part of our discussions today again will be to review those stats where we are and what else we can do district wise as well as well as what we can do from headquarters to continue to drive down those figures."
Murders in Belize hit high of 115: CEO Lovell
If you’ve been getting the sense that the murder rate in Belize is substantially up this year, official data now confirms that to be the case. With the launch of the Belize Crime Observatory on Tuesday, Amandala asked for a status report from the Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Retired Colonel George Lovell, who indicated to us that at last report on Monday, 115 persons had been murdered in Belize. That rate is alarming, especially since 2015 reported 119 murders for the entire year.
Data published on the observatory indicates that at the end of September 2016, there had been 108 murders, up 21% since the same time last year. It is the major crime statistic which is seeing the highest increase next to the theft from motor vehicles, which is up by 32%.
Lovell said that based on the report he received on Monday, other major crimes, with the exception of property crime (robbery, theft and burglaries), seem to be lower than the same time last year. Robbery is up 8% and burglary 18%, the data indicate.
“When you look at the crime of murder in Belize City, we are below where we were in Belize City, where we were last year, year to date, and what I do note is in Belmopan, we are below where we are but it’s still high, but the area I am a bit concerned about is San Ignacio, which seems to have a very high increase from where it was year to date last year, and in the Orange Walk District that we certainly need to work on,” Lovell said.
Whereas Belmopan reported no homicides for the first 9 months of the year, this year, it reported 6 for the same period; meanwhile, reports of homicides in Belize City were down from 43 to 34.
Belize’s homicide rate, indicating the likelihood of any person falling victim, is 40 per 100,000 per annum; still, the highest rate, reported in Belize City, is 62 per 100,000.
What about sex crimes, we asked. Lovell told us that the rate is down as well. The data indicate that rape cases are down 49%, but cases of violent sexual assault are up at 13%, with Belize City reporting the highest rate of sexual violence.
“If you would compare where we are today to where we were in 2010, it seems to me that people are a little bit more open [about reporting] being assaulted with sex crimes. It was just yesterday on the news, I saw where an individual was saying that… there was an attempt to sodomize him and that he had to fight out of it and ended up chopping or injuring the two persons that assaulted him… normally, when you would have cases like that people would not even want to report it, and I’m saying that because I believe that there is now a new consciousness… and they are now coming to the realization that listen, it is not you the victim who should feel as if though that you should hide anything but you the victim should come out and say what happened so that those who you are accusing… that justice can be brought against them, and that is a good thing, I think, that is a good direction we are taking,” Lovell said.
(To view the crime data, visit: http://crimeobservatory.bz/templates/custom_template/crimedata.html or scroll the app below.)