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Murder Count stands at 138

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As mentioned earlier, the murder count has not gone down. It stands at 138, the exact number that was recorded for the entire 2016. That means that with two more weeks to go for 2017, that number may likely increase as will the numbers in other major crimes. This reality may not be encouraging for the Belizean public, but what about the Police Department? Minister of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Elodio Aragon Junior says that the fight against crime is not easy and while the numbers remain high, the department’s efforts cannot be ignored. Operation ACT, for one, has managed to decrease the incidents of gun violence in Belize City. The operation was launched a few months ago when the situation was spiraling out of control.

Elodio Aragon Jr, Minister of State for Home Affairs

“Since we have initiated this operation we have seen a dramatic decrease in the number of shooting incidents and murders in Belize City. We’ve had other incidents in other districts that have actually not helped us but at the end of the day, I feel that policing is not a test that you sit and take and you study for, dealing with the crime situation especially murders this is a very tough business. I’m not disappointed I mean everybody would have hoped that we had fewer murders right but this is the reality of things.”

The Minister went on to say that the murder count has been increasing gradually over a period of time, citing as far back as the last fifteen years and therefore he recognized the urgent need to curb the trend. He adds that with additional institutional strengthening and continued capacity building for the department’s personnel, which they have started this year, Belize will see a decrease in murders next year.

 

Elodio Aragon Jr, Minister of State for Home Affairs

“To deal with these problems we have to ensure that the police department is fully capable to deal with the situation from the detection of crime to the prosecution of crime. You must bear in mind that the criminal justice system has three parts, the penal system, the police and the judiciary. At this point in time, the police department plays one role; the Judiciary must come to bear likewise in terms of the handling of the courts and prosecution they must do their part too. The penal system has to do its part too. At the end of the day, the police department is doing what it can with what it has and I’m confident in  all that will come to bear next year I am confident that the police department can achieve a reduction in murders; it has happened before in the past.”

Allen Whylie, Commissioner of Police: “Of course we are not happy in terms of the level of murders that we’ve had, you also have to understand that the police department doesn’t have any control in terms of murders because murders are committed by individuals or groups and many times its crimes of opportunity but as I always say that we need to step up in terms of the capacity to investigate and interdict these persons because once you are able to interdict the perpetrators then that will act as a deterrent against other persons who may want to commit those crimes.”

The high command said that the department is looking at short, medium and long-term strategies, including focusing on strengthening the forensic department and surveillance systems within Belize City among other things.

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