Posted: January 6, 2016. 4:30 p.m. CST.
By Aaron Humes: Belize Police Department statistics recorded 278 less major crimes across Belize in 2015, but over 2,200 Belizeans were still victims, whether of murder, robbery, burglary and theft, or rape and carnal knowledge.
Murder is down only slightly, from 123 in 2014 to 119 in 2015, a decrease of just 4 or 3.3%. While the Belize District overall recorded 11 less murders in 2015, the impact of the reduction came most dramatically on the Southside of Belize City, where just eight murders were recorded over the second half of 2015, compared to 26 in the first half. In the same time periods in 2014, 25 and 23 murders were recorded. On the Northside, murders went down from 11 to 7, and Precinct 4, which includes mostly suburban neighbourhoods such as Belama Phases 1 to 4, Buttonwood Bay and Coral Grove, is the only part of the Old Capital – and indeed, the entire country – that has not seen a murder since the start of 2014 – knock on wood, as the saying goes.
A total of 218 shooting incidents were reported countrywide in 2015, only two more than all of 2014.
While Belize City saw less blood spilled, the new capital, Belmopan, recorded a whopping increase of 16 murders from 2014, going from 5 to 21. Most other jurisdictions saw either slight increases, decreases or similar numbers.
Overall, Belize’s murder rate per 100,000 stands at 32.136, just above the bench mark of 30 given by the United Nations to determine a nation’s crisis point and still among the worst rates in the world.
Decreases were recorded in all major categories of crime, but unfortunately, except for murder, arrests were lower two. There were 22 more arrests for murder in 2015 and a total of just 56, just 47% of the total number of murders recorded. Overall there were 300 less arrests recorded, from 662 to 362.
Police had lesser success in collecting drugs, with less busts of processed marijuana and cannabis seeds and plants. They also busted less crack and cocaine, but two major busts in January and June ensured that the figure for heroin rose dramatically to 59.6 pounds from zero.
Police seized 37 more firearms, a total of 149, and a thousand 398 more rounds of ammunition, and recorded nine less firearm thefts. They arrested a total of 142 persons for firearms and ammunition, but there was a dramatic fall in the number of arrests for drugs, with just 1,954 arrests recorded, down from 2,227 in 2014.
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