BELIZE CITY, Mon. June 5, 2017–The year 2016 saw the second highest murder count in Belize, and Belize is still grappling with a high per capita murder rate of roughly 36 homicides per 100,000 residents, with 11 murders a month on average reported this year—too many for a small population of about 380,000 persons.
Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ret’d Colonel George Lovell, told Amandala that he was briefed today on the current crime situation, and latest reports are that the murder count now stands at 57, down from 61 murders this time last year.
Fears are that another missing couple could have also been murdered in Corozal
No murders were confirmed over the weekend, although there are fears that a woman reported missing after she went to take food for her boyfriend in Corozal Town on June 1 could have been a victim of foul play, after the woman’s car was found intentionally burnt. Relatives have also been unable to reach the woman’s boyfriend since her disappearance. (See headline story.)
The Belize Crime Observatory provides a quick summary of crime data as of the end of May 2017. The data, when compared with official Police Department statistics provided for the year 2016, indicate that incidences of all major crimes are down: murders down by 3%, and property crimes: robberies, burglaries and thefts, down by a cumulative 20%.
Murders in Belize remain a pressing concern. A report on Belize’s crime situation published by the US State Department this March said that, “Due to the small population and high murder rate per capita, Belize consistently ranks among the top 10 cities in the world for homicides, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.”
It added that the average runs just under 40 homicides per 100,000 residents, reflected in the murder counts of 119 and 138 for 2015 and 2016, respectively.
“The increase from 119 murders in 2016 is likely due to an increase in shootings and burglaries and potentially from the displacement of crime from the central hub of local gang activity in the south Belize City,” said the report.