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Two months into the New Year has seen over 20 murders

Despite efforts to solve the crime problem, crime in Belize has been edging up with each passing year.  The total number of homicides for 2015 stood at one hundred and nineteen, in 2016 that number increased by nineteen bringing it to one-hundred and thirty-eight and in 2017 it went up even further to one hundred and forty-two. Just two months into the year 2018 and over twenty murders have occurred. The New Year was not even a day old before the first murder took place that claimed the life of Leon Garcia. Thereafter, on January 2nd, a husband and father, Jermaine Vellos, who was in Belize for the Christmas holidays to be with his family, was gunned down and killed. Over the years the crime has spread from Belize City to the rest of the country. On January 16, in Carmelita Village located in the Orange Walk District, 26-year-old Andy Rhaburn attacked and killed his mother 53-year-old Braulia Pech, a crime for which he is yet to be charged. In late January, a double murder took place in the Toledo district where sisters, 17-year-old Josephina and 19-year-old Cresencia Oh received multiple chop wounds to the head and died as a result.  On February 6, the Belize Police Department unveiled its National Crime Fighting Strategy in the hopes of getting the escalating crime situation under control and restore public confidence.  Nevertheless, gun violence continues.  Among those murdered in February is a wife who was allegedly killed by her husband and a twelve-year-old child.  While statistics show that the majority of murders have occurred on Belize City’s southside, the northside of the city has also seen gun violence as just a little over a week ago, two murders occurred on Eighth Street.  As we go into a new month, authorities continue to look at what can be done to address the crime situation that is having an adverse effect on our society. A portion of the population has called for the reinstatement of capital punishment as a deterrent.