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Major crimes down two percent, murders down 22 percent according to Police Department figures

Posted: Thursday, October 5, 2023. 4:01 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: There have been 766 incidents of major crimes – classified as murder, robbery, burglary, theft, rape, and unlawful sexual intercourse – through the end of September, a difference of six or two percent compared to the same period in 2022.

More significantly, there have been 18 fewer murders in the same period, 68 in total, compared to 86 in the same period last year, a reduction of 22 percent.

The Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams, sees the potential for a record low in the murder count. The last sub-100 year for murders with 2013 with 99, though 2020 with 103, and 2022 with 113 were close.

Belize City and the Belize District remain the epicenter of crime and especially murder, followed by the west, north and lastly the south. The Commissioner noted that burglary is a particular issue in Independence and Bella Vista, reportedly committed by a repeat offender.

Murders rose from three last August to ten this August despite a State of Emergency being in place, but after the murder of Orel Leslie on August 27, urgent operational and intervention procedures kept the district murder-free up to the September 27 killing of David Philips.

The Commissioner explained that the Police Department was able to keep a lid on murders in September to only three by the operational plan they had in place. And particularly, he said that the interventions that the police department staged, in tandem with other key activists, have proven effective in keeping the Belize District murder-free for an entire month, mentioning Brother Nuri (Muhammad), (Raymond) Footie Gongora, Brother Stix (Perry Smith) and Geovannie Brackett among others. It was particularly needed in the aftermath of Leslie’s downtown killing for which two have been charged, and now the factions are learning to enlist the interventionists to quell tensions.

While the Commissioner believes his job is safe for now, he says it’s not time to celebrate yet: “The year still has three more months to go and we must, as I said to my commanders, that they must ensure that they keep up the work that they have been doing, pressing officers to work while keeping them motivated. If we have our officers motivated, certainly we’re going to get more from them. I can also say that we’ve, through the ministry and the government, have been pumping a lot of resources into the different parts of the country to ensure that the officers have the tools to work.”

 

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