Adele Ramos, the technical coordinator for the Belize Crime Observatory, was one of the presenters at this GIS conference, and she gave a detailed account of how this government agency has used GIS applications to carefully analyse the country's major crime trends.

An interesting part of her presentation today was a snapshot of the 2020 murder count, and how the COVID-19 pandemic and the states of emergency caused the country's numbers to fall in a very noticeable way.

Here's here detailed look at the countrywide overview, and then her focus on Belize City:

Adele Ramos - Technical Coordinator

"This slide shows you the pre and post covid scenario with respect to Belize City and these zones that you see there on the Belize City map, we map them using the information obtained from the police department, so the state of emergency zone on south side, you notice where you had the murders occurring before the whole covid-19 measures went into effect and then from that point on to the end of June, there were only 2 murders in Belize City, so you saw a substantial shift in what was happening in Belize City. So where are we today, nationally, murders have declined 24.77%, so between January and October 2019, there were 109 murders, January to October 2020 there were 82 murders registered but don't tell that to the people in Corozal and Stann Creek because they have seen an increase, so if we look here at the 2 maps side by side January to September 2020, January to October 2020, we see where Corozal and Stann Creek recorded increase relative to the same period last year, so the darker the green, then greater the increase, light green, almost white represents of course your declines. When we look at where we are at least up to the end of October 2020 compared to the same time last year, Belize City accounted for 38 percent of the murders nationally, for the same period this year, Belize City accounted for 43%, so even though there has been a decline in the national level and there is been a decline in Belize City generally, the proportion has increased by 5%. Of course you know covid has been devastating on us, particularly I didn't touch on the aspect of gender based violence because it's so complex, sexual violence, the impact there has been quite adverse but we say that every cloud has a silver lining and so there is a silver lining in the covid-19 cloud, that based on what we've been seeing and if this trend continues, this will be the first time in 7 years that Belize's murder rate could fall. So, the projection is that on the current trajectory, that the number of murders could possibly remain below 100 for 2020, resulting in a murder rate around 25 to 100,000 inhabitants"

In Ramos's presentation, she discussed how GIS helped the observatory to identify that special crime interventions may be needed for Corozal and Stann Creek, as well as the need for targeted crime prevention measures in Belize City.

Channel 7