By Aaron Humes: Figures available up to December 3, 2021, from the Belize Crime Observatory (BCO) showed a slight decrease in the total number of major crimes for the year.
Compared to 818 total murders, rapes, unlawful sexual intercourse, robberies, burglaries, and thefts committed in the same period in 2020, there were 812 major incidents between January and November of 2021.
In addition to the 115 murders up to that point, there were 11 rapes and forty incidents of unlawful sexual intercourse reported.
For crimes against the person – robbery, burglary, and theft – there were six more robberies, 18 fewer burglaries, and eight more thefts reported. (By legal definition, theft is simply taking someone’s property without threat or use of force or arms; robbery is theft including threat and/or use of force or arms, and burglary is a robbery taking place at a person’s residence or property such as a store).
There were also 235 shooting incidents reported through November, up 24 from 211 in 2020.
Major incidents were down in every district except the two largest, Belize and Cayo; Belize District reported 37 more incidents in 2021 than in 2020.
75 fewer total arrests were made for major crimes compared to 2020 – 290 to 215. This included 12 fewer arrests for murders and figures down in every category except theft, with 13 arrests compared to four last year.
In the area of drugs, police recovered more than 2.4 million pounds of cocaine in 2021, aided mainly by the huge busts on the Southern Highway at Bladen and in the Mountain Pine Ridge. In the month of November alone, 1.4 million pounds of cocaine was recovered, dwarfing all hauls made for the rest of the year combined.
Police also recovered more crack cocaine and processed cannabis, but fewer cannabis plants and heroin. However, they made a hundred fewer arrests.
There was a slight increase in the number of firearms stolen (34 in 2020 to 38 in 2021) and lost (five to nine). However, just two stolen firearms have been recovered.