ComPol Projects Fewer Murders Than 2021

June was a deadly month; there were a total of 13 murders, compared to just 3 in June of last year.

Also, at the end of June, 2022, the total number of murders for the year so far was 7 more than at the same time last year.

And already, very sadly, July has continued the trend with two murders so far.

The Commissioner of Police watches these numbers with hawk-like vigilance and yesterday gave us his strategy and projection for still ending the year with fewer murders than 2021:

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police
"I've said to my commanders July last year and June were two of the best years last year in the sense that last year June we only had 3 murders and in July we only had I think 7. So, to beat those 2 months this year is going to be difficult, so I do anticipate that by the end of July we will still be above last year's figure, but when we go to August, I think last year August we had either 17 or 19. I do believe that for the month of August this year we should be able to cut into that and be able to see how the numbers begin to dip and I believe by November we should be below last year's figure. That is our objective that we are pushing on. I am pushing my commanders, they are pushing themselves, pushing their people to ensure that have a murder count this year which is lower than last year. If it is that we don't achieve that and we are close to where we were last year, then it's still a significant achievement for us concerning the fact that we are no longer under quarantine regulations."

There were 20 murders in August of 2021.

Police Contending With Major Crimes

And while murder arrests are down - the number of major crimes overall is up. The first half of 2022 saw 40 more major crimes than the same period of 2021.

Major crimes include murder rape robbery, burglary theft and unlawful sexual intercourse.

The Compol chalked that one up to the post COVID frenzy:

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police
"Concerning the fact that we were under curfew measures last year and the regulations relating to the pandemic - that may have to some extent assisted to reduce major crimes, but this year we no longer have those regulations so when the regulations were lifted, people had expected that crime was going to get out of control now and yes you will see that after the lifting of these regulations people began to behave as they have just been release from prison and things began to get crazy. Yes, the police had to adjust and make adjustments to meet the challenges and make sure that citizens security is upheld and we did a number of things to ensure that we were able to neutralize the situation."

Arrest Rate Gone Up

And while murder are trending up for the first half of 2022, the number of arrests if tapering off. There have been 20 arrests for the 62 murders so far this year. That means that so far only a third of the murders for 2022 have resulted in arrests.

That's a clearance rate of 33% - which is far below optimal. The commissioner said that's because so many of the murders are concentrated in the city, where brave witnesses are hard to come by:

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police
"The challenge is in Belize City. You find that most of the murders we have out district are normally solve and because we get more cooperation from witnesses out district as opposed to Belize City. Most of the unsolved murders we have are in Belize City and again, is because of these murders are mostly gang related and when you do have the gang related type of murders nobody wants to speak and so if we do not get a surveillance footage or some other independent form of evidence that we can use, then we for the most part will be unable to make an arrest, because nobody wants to give statements against these gang members. So that's the challenge that we face in Belize City. But out district I must commend the investigators and the commanders for the work that they do in always doing their best to find the suspect in respect to these murders and it is not to say that the officers in Belize City are not doing the same, they certainly are working their butts off to try and find these perpetrators and get evidence, but the challenges is so great in Belize City that at times its difficult to overcome."

Channel 7