If you watch the evening news or read the papers regularly, you’ll know that major crime is down. So far this year we’ve reported on fewer murders and the numbers reflect that as well. The latest crime statistics were released today – and they show that up to the end of July 2013, major crimes are down by 12.7% compared to the same period last year. Most important than that is that so far for 2013, murder is down by 23.8% - compared to the same period in 2012.
At the National Security Minister’s monthly meeting with zone and branch commanders today, Police Commissioner Allen Whylie attributed the success to the hard-work of the police officers. Here’s his address to his colleagues:
Allen Whylie - Commissioner of Police
"I would like to put on record, the Minister and myself for the hard work the members of the Belize Department have been doing country wide and I want to again reassure the public that we continue to re-strategize what we are doing and we continue to evolve in our crime fighting efforts. This is testimony to the commitments and the hard work of all members of the Belize Police Department as well as the direction the regional commanders have been playing in terms of steering their regions in our crime fighting efforts. We've noted decreases once again in the Western Region compared to the same period last year, July 2013 we've had 42 cases reported from the Western Region which comprises San Ignacio, Belmopan and Benque Viejo compared to 56 cases in July 2012. In terms of the Northern Region, we've had 19 cases reported compared to 38 cases in the same time, one year ago. In terms of the Southern Region, we've had 42 cases reported to present and compared to 45 cases in the same period last year. In terms in the Eastern division, we've seen a slight increase of a 111 cases at this time as compared to 95 cases at the same time last year but despite this increase, we were aware with school being out we're having a lot of additional activity and people are roaming around. I think we've been doing a stellar effort in terms of the containments and the crime fighting efforts. In terms of major incidence as I've said, at the end of July we had 67 cases of murder reported compared to 88 cases."
Apart from murders which saw a sharp decrease, robbery, burglaries and rape are also down – robbery by a remarkable 43%.
Another important aspect of the meeting today was the announcement of the winner of the Monthly Awards for the Greatest Reduction in Major Crimes. For the first time, since the awards were put in place, the Eastern Region won – well, parts of it actually, specifically the Eastern Zone and Coastal Sub-Formation – that excludes Belize Rural with the crime-concentrated Ladyville. National Security Minister John Saldivar presented the award to the Commander, Assistant Commissioner of Police Miguel Segura:
John Saldivar - Minister of National Security
"It was a close battle, the coastal region experienced a reduction in crime,the biggest reduction in crime in this past month. We also have the Eastern Division which is the Belize district winning as the best district or region and so we'd like to call the OC of Eastern Division to receive the check on behalf of the Belize Coastal Zone."
It is also notable that Eastern Division is where police are currently using the precinct policing system, which was launched 5 months ago. We must also note that while major crime is down generally, there are 2 major crimes which have seen an increase. Theft is up by 6.9%, and so is Carnal knowledge, which has increased by 69%.