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Belize murder rate stays under civil war benchmark despite increase over 2020


Posted: Tuesday, January 4, 2022. 12:35 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Belize’s raw figure for murders in 2021 was 125, an increase of 23 over 2020’s count of 102.

By our calculations, the murder rate for 2021 is 29.05, narrowly under the benchmark of 30 murders per 100 thousand people established to represent civil war among a population. (Belize’s estimated population as of mid-year 2021, according to the Statistical Institute of Belize was 430,191).

2020’s murder rate, according to the Belize Crime Observatory was 24.33 murders per 100 thousand people, the lowest since 2001 and lowest figure of the 2010s.

December saw a total of ten murders with that of Akeem Welch with at least one other death under investigation. This was after 16 murders were reported in the month of November.

By district up to November, the Belize District had 63 murders, Cayo – 30, Corozal – five, Orange Walk – one, and Stann Creek and Toledo – eight each. We are awaiting the formal figures from the Crime Observatory.

Commissioner of Police Chester Williams, in speaking to Channel 7 News, said it was not the best year, but at least it wasn’t the worst: “…we can still celebrate some extent to say that our murder count was the third-best going all the way back to 10 years. It is still an accomplishment for us and we are going to ensure that we do better for 2022 to see how we can continue to reduce the murder count.”

And for those questioning whether there is a correlation between lockdowns/states of emergency and the reduction of murder, in particular, the Commissioner said it would be false to assume such: “…we see around us where countries have more stricter curfew measures and yet still their murder rate was still all the way up to the roof. That is not the case with us, so I am not going to have nobody take away the effort of the police. I think that the policing effort has a lot to do with our numbers and yes certainly the gang intervention that we are currently engaged in, I think for one month already did in fact [contribute to] a reduction in December and we are hoping that we will see that reduction continue into this year.”

There was a double murder reported on Monday night so that hope may be dented, but not yet dashed.


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