Yesterday the commissioner of police Allen Whylie flanked by Minister responsible Home Affairs, Elodio Aragon Junior and CEO Retired Colonel George Lovell, hosted the media to share the latest crime statistics. The statistics presented are for the first six months of the year and the numbers were compared to the same period for 2016. Overall, major crimes are down from 1,070 reported crimes in the first half of 2016 to 886 reported crimes for the first half of this year. Recently, there has been a spike of crime in the Cayo and Corozal Districts which prompted Commissioner Whylie to provide additional support in those jurisdictions.
Allen Whylie – Commissioner of Police
“Any murder is unacceptable and so I take no consolation in the fact that murders are down. Our preventative patrols countrywide are out, we continue to provide additional support to the Corozal District as well as the Cayo District where we had seen some recent cases of murders. The investigators continue to review current cases as well as older cases with a view to see if there is anything that they had missed as well as to in some cases re-interview witnesses and bring in various suspects to see what further we can do. In terms of murders, these murder cases are never ever closed as long as information is received we do act on them and from time to time different groups of investigators are put together to review those older cases with a view to see what new pair of eyes may uncover. And so those were the statistics I wanted to share with the nation and to indicate that we continue to give our utmost best to prevent crimes and where it occurs, we continue to investigate diligently and continue to appeal to witnesses to come forward simply because of the fact that many times when these incidents occur police are not present but members of the community are present and the answering to solving many of these cases rest with the members of the community.”
But members of the community are not coming forward to help investigators with cases. This is why, according to Minister Aragon, a piece of legislation is being drafted to protect witnesses.
Elodio Aragon – Minister of State, Home Affairs
“I want the public to rest assured that we are looking at things that will have impact not only short term but medium and long term and one of the biggest things is looking at legislative reforms that will assist us in having better support to witnesses, to encourage more people who have witnessed crime to come forward and assist the police department; it’s about looking at legislation that will assist the police department not only operationally but in the prosecution of offenders and this is where the crux of the matter lies. The Belize Police Department does a magnificent job of getting to find out who has committed these acts, understanding what has occurred out there. Our biggest problem and challenge is about successful prosecution and that is our challenge and that is why we are looking at these legislative reforms to give us that added support in terms of having successful prosecution. This is our challenge and we do not shy away from it and we will continue to work together to see how we continue to move the department forward and ensuring that we reduce the number of murders and the number of incidents of shootings and reduce the number of crime on a whole in this country.”
Up to last night, 2017 recorded 74 murders compared to the 81 murdered recorded during the same period last year