BELIZE CITY, Mon. July 11, 2016–Even as Belize police make gains in tackling crime in Belize City, and particularly on the City’s southside, indications are that the incidences of major crimes have spiked elsewhere, outside the district.
The official police statistics released today indicate that major crimes were up 4.9% for the first half of 2016, with the largest increase being for carnal knowledge and the largest decrease being for rape.
There was a marginal increase in the number of murders, from 73 recorded for the first half of 2015 to 74 recorded for the first half of 2016. Although the number of murders nationwide remained relatively unchanged, there was a drastic shift in where the bulk of the murders occurred.
Most of the murder victims are young men, ages 15 and 44—the most productive age group. An estimated 14% of the victims were females.
Three double murders occurred during the period—the first claimed the lives of two teenagers in Orange Walk at the start of February and the second two claimed the lives of two women and two other youths over the Labour Day weekend.
The incidences of murder within the Belize District declined by 27.6%. There were 13 less murders in the district between January and June 2016, but elsewhere, the number of murders increased from 24 to 40—an increase of 53.8%.
As the accompanying graphic shows, for the first six months of last year, just over a third of the murders were recorded outside of the Belize District; for the first six months of this year, 2016, just over a half of murders were outside of the Belize District.
There was likewise a sharp reduction in the proportion of thefts which occurred in the Belize District; which conversely means that the percentage of crimes in the other districts went up.
There were also some notable spikes in shootings over the course of the first six months of the year. The data indicate that March was the only month that registered a decline in the number of shooting incidents, with February recording no change. However, January and May 2016 recorded the largest increases in the number of shootings.
Notably, murder arrests are down by 33%. The police report that there were 24 arrests for the first half of this year and 36 recorded from January to June 2015. The overall trend for arrests for major crimes was upward, with the rate going up by 6%—the most notable gains having been recorded for burglary and theft, with increases of 27% and 37.5%, respectively. Arrests for sex crimes (rape and unlawful sexual intercourse) were also down substantially.
Police reported 963 drug arrests, a reduction of 9% from 1,062 for the first half of last year; and 1,361 ammunition seizures, down 25% from 1,825 for the same period last year. Firearm seizures were up, however, from 86 to 90, an increase of 5%.