For the past years, crime, in particular murders, have been on an upward trend. In light of this, there have been many interventions, the latest being the Belize Movement for Reconciliation attempts to get different people to come to the table and dialogue. Love News spoke with Dr. Leroy Almendarez, Assistant Professor, at the University of Belize about the cost of crime.
Dr. Leroy Almendarez – Assistant Professor, University of Belize: “It’s costing us in many ways. There is a social cost to it because like I said people have become depressed; people want to move from where they are living. There is an economic cost because if businesses have to be moving out of certain areas then you make a depressed area even more depressed. If businesses have to be investing to prevent or mitigate or fight against crime that is a serious cost and of course it would mean that the public budget, the government’s budget would now not have to be now focused on fighting crime. These same allocations could be put into more positive, of course those are ways of fighting crime in education etc but I also must say that the public and private sectors must work together in order to find solutions, in order to come up with curative and preventative measures and if that happens let’s celebrate any little success that we have because any little success that we have will bring about some positive change in this jewel called Belize. Crime has also caused a depreciation of assets, you build a house in a crime ridden area and you invest in it so much but if the crime is prevalent it will reduce the value of your home. We must understand that for a victim of crime the cost is long term. You become depressed ,people become paranoid and don’t want to come out of their homes that is a cost. People might not want to go to work, that is a cost. People have to be looking back every time you are trying to get into your vehicle that is a cost.”
Dr. Almendarez said that we need to communicate with our young people and help find positive outlets for them. Almendarez added that the public and private sectors must contribute to finding a solution to crime and not only leave it to the government since it affects us all.