The government agency known as the Belize Crime Observatory has released a completed study of all the homicides for the year 2020. And, the BCO is reporting for the first time since 2013, Belize has registered a murder rate that is below what is considered to be civil war benchmark: we're at 24.33 per 100 thousand inhabitants.

Official statistics released by the police department say that there were 102 murders recorded last year. This represents a reduction of 32 from the previous year when there were 134 murders. That's a decline of 23.88%.

The BCO notes that while it's a marked reduction nationally, Belize City recorded the same number of murders it did back in 2019. There were 47 murders recorded in this major population center in both 2019 and 2020. City murders constituted a higher percentage of the national total last year when compared to 2019.

The BCO says, quote, "The situation improved in Precincts 3 and 4 (the City's northside) but worsened in Precincts 1 and 2 (the City's southside). No murders were recorded in Precinct 4." End quote.

And by the Observatory's count, the Belize District recorded a notable decline in murders. It was a similar picture for the districts of Orange Walk, Cayo, and Toledo. In Corozal and Stann Creek However, there was an increase over the previous year.

Channel 7