BELIZE CITY, Thurs. May 6, 2021– For the first time in over 6 years, the major crime stats for the first quarter have reached all-time lows. Major crime has decreased by over 28% when compared to the same period last year.
The Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams, in commenting on the promising statistics, said, “Every category of crime is down in [almost] every region. The only region that has an increase in murders so far is the western region.” This increase in the region is attributed to a significant number of murders in Belmopan and its surrounding areas in the start of 2021.
The increase in murders in the city of Belmopan; however, has not impacted the overall crime outlook for the country. The other regions in the country recorded a comparatively low number of murders — marking a significant decrease in the country’s overall murder count.
Two areas that have been under high police scrutiny are the areas of Punta Gorda Town and Belize City. In regards to crime in Belize City, Minister of Home Affairs & New Growth Industries, Hon. Kareem Musa, said there has been significant improvement in the Eastern Region. He said, “We are at 24 murders for the first quarter compared to 38… last year in the Eastern Division.” While the number of murders has declined, there has been a surge in other types of crime. The number of home invasions has surged in the year 2021. Musa stated, “So one of our primary focuses when it comes to the Eastern Division has been home invasions, a new type of crime.”
Punta Gorda, another part of the country that is receiving extra police scrutiny, recently witnessed a spike in murders. The Commissioner of Police says the matter has been addressed. “There was a disconnect between the police and the public,” said Commissioner Williams. “Where there is a disconnect between the police and the public, most likely crime is out of control,” he further said. The Commissioner has since installed a community-oriented Assistant Superintendent, Mr. Brent Hamilton, to oversee policing in Punta Gorda, in an effort to restore the connection between the community and the police.
Commissioner Williams has also noted that there have been decreases in all categories of crime, except the incidence of rape. There has been an increase in the number of incidents of rape. There has also been an increase in the number of drug seizures since last year. The Commissioner applauds the members of the Police Department for carrying out their policing duties in troubling times.
COMPSTAT Conferences are an important tool in policing, said Minister Musa. “It is a weapon in crime-fighting strategy, because what we do is that we review the statistics over the first quarter to see where it is that crime is happening, who is committing these crimes. And we certainly then make adjustments in our strategy to focus on these areas and to come up with new and innovative ways, including the use of technology, to better our crime-fighting strategy.” These reports guide the policing efforts and help the police to determine the key areas that need to be monitored,” he said.