One aspect of today’s report that saw a major shift was the crime statistics for Belize City. For the last four years the old capital has been known to be the centre of criminal acts. Police Commissioner commended the Commanding Officer on this accomplishment.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “I must commend Belize City because Belize City has the lowest murder count since 2015 so the officers in Belize City performed exceedingly well under the command of Assistant Commissioner of Police Mr.Dawson and what we have asked him to do today is share with the other regions what is it that he did in Belize City that yielded the success that he had so that they can now adapt that in the other parts of the country and hopefully get the same results. While Belize City performed well Rural Belize district’s performance was very poor. In the Ladyville area murders went up by 100% and so while there was a huge reduction in Belize City, Ladyville bit off a huge chunk of the reduction and brought Belize district’s numbers still down but not as high as it would have been. I think at the end of the year Belize district has a reduction of 17, that could have been far more than 17 had the performance in the rural area been a bit better but that’s something he will have to deal with along with the commander in the rural to see how we can address the issues in the rural areas. In the north – the northern region the murder count remains the same compared to last year, they even off. Overall the major crime went up in the north by I think 3%. In the west the murder count went up by 6 but other crimes went down so while the murder count is up in the west the overall major crime picture is down. In the south, murder went up by 25% in the south but other major crimes went down so again just like the west the south had an increase in murder but the overall major crime is down. Belize district has an overall reduction in every category of crime that includes murders and major crime in a whole. Belize City’s major crime went down by 134 compared to the same period last year.”
As it relates to crimes carried out due to gang rivalries, Police Commissioner Williams noted that this was not the case in 2019.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “Belize City in particular I must say that the gang activities for 2019 was very low compared to other areas and so while we are always ready to vilify the gang members we are seeing that they are not the main contributing factor to our murder count this year. The murder count, the greater number is attributed to persons like me and you who would be, under normal circumstances would have been sane or act reasonably but after consuming alcohol our behavior alters and we behave in a different manner. So that is what we need to deal with this year, ensure we work in tangent with the Liquor Licensing Board with a view to see how we can address and more regulate the sale and consumption of alcohol.”
The Commissioner says he will be working closely with the various liquor licensing boards across the country to tackle the issue of alcohol consumption. There are other areas that the Commissioner addressed in today’s briefing which we will share with you later in this newscast.