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Police face battle to keep murder count below record

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Posted: Saturday, December 21, 2019. 9:34 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: The regime of Commissioner of Police Chester Williams has noticeably eschewed discussing actual figures for crime statistics, except to point out what they have been doing right.

Through the month of November according to the Belize Crime Observatory, a total of 120 murders had been reported, and 12 have so far been reported for December through today (including the most recent in Toledo District), bringing the count to 132 unofficially.

That is 11 off last year’s mark of 143, two below the all-time record of 145.

Only twice has the murder count for 2019 per month gone below ten: nine murders were reported in February and six in April. In June the number skyrocketed to 19 but has remained at a steady clip of 10 – 12 murders per month since.

Belize and Cayo Districts combined for the most murders, dwarfing the rest of the country.

Discussing murder trends with reporters on Friday, the Commissioner spoke of a reduction in murders perpetrated by and through gangs, in favor of more murders in a domestic setting or involving alcohol and drugs.

Also trending are missing persons lured to murder and multiple killings, such as five men murdered near Mapp Caye, among other double and triple murders.

Going into a critical week for crime control, the Commissioner said, “all I will say is that we are still below last year’s figure and we will do our best to ensure that we stay below last year’s figure.”

If they achieve it, Belize will be the envy of its regional neighbors such as Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, which have all recorded significant increases in homicides this year.

However, this is Веlіzе’s sixth consecutive year with at least 100 murdеrѕ ѕіnсе 2013 (99, аftеr а rесоrd 145 іn 2012), аnd thе fіgurе hаѕ trеndеd uр іn еvеrу уеаr but оnе ѕіnсе: 113 іn 2014, thеn а ѕlіght dір tо 108 іn 2015; іn 2016, 137; 142 іn 2017 аnd 143 fоr 2018.

Here’s hoping for a safe Christmas week.

 

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