Crime is down in Belize City … That is what the Police Commissioner, Chester Williams told the media today. In a special conference in Belmopan, the Belize Police Department released its statistics on crime around the country. Today, after three months, district commanders and other high ranking officers met to discuss these statistics and address the media’s questions and concerns. According to Commissioner Williams, the number of murders is significantly lower than last year’s.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “We did have some serious incidents where murders are concerned. We had the triple murder on the highway, we have the five out at sea, then we have the two out in San Pedro and despite the fact that we had those multiple murders within a short space of time or during one incident we are still able to have a murder figure which is below last year’s figure and that speaks volumes to the efforts that we have been doing. Again compared to other years gone by where gang related murders were dominating the murder count this time we’re seeing a significant reduction in gang related murders especially in Belize City. So again we have been putting a lot of effort in Belize City and those efforts are paying dividends, not as much as we would want it to but we’re getting great results. I’m not going to go through the figures with you now but we’ll be giving you a copy of the statistics. We have several operations in the city that are geared at going after gang members and conducting searches for drugs, firearms and we have the gang task force that have been very active in going after gang members so we continue to do what we can in the city to be able to control the murder rate in the city. When you get the statistics you’ll see that Belize City has the greatest reduction in murder compared to last year and that is a direct result of the efforts that we have been doing in the city to be able to contain the crime problem.“
As it relates to fighting crime, Commissioner Williams says there is a strategy being applied that he hopes will continue the downward trend in crime.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “Currently I can say that our figures look good compared to the same period last year, it is not where we would have wanted it to be but it still is better compared to last year. We have one region in particular where the major crimes are up compared to last year, the other three regions are down. We now need to see how we can help the region that is behind to ensure that we close the gap by the end of the year that way we’ll be able to have that all four regions across the country should reflect a reduction in major crime at the end of 2019. So we know it’s a task for us, we are policing in tough times and we have to ensure that whatever strategy we develop is one that will be able to help us to reach our goal. One of the things that we’re harping to the commanders is to be able to work more in tangent with the public. We cannot as a department work in isolation of those that we serve and so I am pressing on the officers to see how we can look at our COPS program where we can have the citizens on patrol to be able to assist the police in patrolling some the areas and that will make us broaden our areas of patrols and so if we can get the COPS program going then that would be a plus for us to be able to see how we control our respective area of responsibility. We’re also looking at the issue of the neighborhood watch programs. We know again that’s a very good initiative that we would normally engage in to be able to help us, the meet and greet we also emphasize on that and the importance of community policing. We still maintain the fact that community policing is the way to go and so while we do have our operational officers going out aggressively at the criminals we want to be able to strike that balance with the community policing effort to be able to go after those persons who we know are there and willing to work with us so that people can see both sides of the police, the soft side and the tough side.“
The January to September 2019 statistics indicates that there have been 97 homicides, 73 rape incidents, 203 robberies, 522 burglaries and 56 thefts around the country.