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Belize crime rate down, according to Compol

GeneralBelize crime rate down, according to Compol

Photo: Chester Williams ,Commissioner of Police

by Kristen Ku

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Apr. 4, 2024

The State of Emergency (SOE) over the Southside of Belize City and parts of the Cayo District remains in effect, and is now in its 10th day. 

This measure aims to curb the recent spike in violence that saw the country’s crime rate soar, with March witnessing a shocking tally of 27 murders, marking a 40% increase from the previous year.

Under the SOE, the police department has gone after those they believe have been involved in recent crimes, with 53 already detained, 23 from Cayo and 30 from Belize City. Despite that, crime still managed to make headlines, with the murder of Clay Monsanto from the Lake Independence area over the Easter holidays.

Nevertheless, Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams remains optimistic and projects a stabilization in murder rates by the end of the second quarter. 

Although murders have risen by 9 compared to last year, Williams notes a downward trend when compared to previous years, attributing the recent surge to incidents in rural Belize District, particularly in domestic and social settings. 

“Nine of the murders in the district or the Eastern Division, occurred in rural Belize. So, we have to find a way where we will be able to address these types of crime; but when we also look at the motive behind these murders, many of them were in the social setting or the domestic setting. The gang-related violence is still down tremendously, and we want to make sure that going farther into the year, that we can continue to keep it down,” he said.

Aside from the reduction in gang-related violence, he also confirmed that major crimes have decreased by 22% compared to last year, signaling a positive shift in crime overall.

Belize’s reputation internationally as a dangerous country is not as bad as it has been in recent years.

Once among the top three or four most dangerous countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, Belize has now moved to 14th place. 

“I believe we are number 14 now in Latin America and the Caribbean. Last year, for the first time we came out of the top 10, and we are at 11; but as you would know, under the last administration we were as high as number 3 and 4 on the most dangerous countries in Latin America,” Minister of Home Affairs, Hon. Kareem Musa commented.

“I am thankful that we have moved out from that top 10 list. We are now 14, and I look forward to going even further down that list,” he added.

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