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“MAJOR CRIMES”, DOWN, BUT ARE BELIZEANS ANY SAFER

“MAJOR CRIMES”, DOWN, BUT ARE BELIZEANS ANY SAFER
July 22
18:24 2018
Reporter: Benjamin Flowers, News Staff,

Earlier this month, the Ministry of National Security issued a release saying that major crimes have been trending down this year.

The Ministry emphasized that its statement came out following a meeting with the business sector including the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Belize Chinese Association, and the Belize National Teachers Union, where those parties expressed concerns that the crime situation is spiraling out of control.

The ministry responded to those concerns saying that it is of the view that the perception of escalating crime is “not factual and is being spread across certain sectors of our society creating a false sense of insecurity amongst our citizens.”

The ministry even bolstered the July 12 statement with data from the crime observatory showing that major crimes were down by a total of 30 percent, with only four murders recorded for the month of June 2018.

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While a drop in major crimes such as murder, rape and unlawful carnal knowledge is encouraging, the Ministry’s data also shows that the number of robberies and burglaries continues to go up. The Crime Observatory’s website shows that the total number of robberies for 2015 was 244 and that the number jumped to 284 by 2016. The number of burglaries for the same time periods went from 801 in 2015 to 948 by 2016. Up to the publishing of this article, the site did not have the 2017 figures for robbery and burglaries.

The Belize Police Department issues a crimes comparative report each year, however, there is a discrepancy between the police figures and those reported by the Ministry of National Security. In the police report, dated January 4, 2018, the department has the total number of robberies for 2016 at 232 instead of the figure reported by the ministry.

The discrepancy in the data and the increased reports of daring daytime robberies, many of which populated local newscasts within the past few months, may be the contributing factor behind the business community’s perception that the crime situation is, in fact, spiraling out of control.

The Reporter will be speaking with the police department in the upcoming week to clarify the discrepancy between the reports as well as seeking an update on the 2018 number for robberies and burglaries thus far.

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