The Minister of Police and the Commissioner of Police met with the media today to give the details of the Annual Crime statistics for 2016in comparison to those of 2015. While major crimes decreased this year, murders jumped by 15.9% with 138 murders for 2016 as compared to 119 in 2015. Commissioner of police Allen Whylie gave the stats for major crimes.
Allen Whylie – Commissioner of Police
“Murders constituted a total of 138 incidents for the year 2016 country wide in comparison to 119 incidents which recorded in the year 2015. This shows an increase of 19 incidents or 15.9%. Analysis for period under review 2016 by region indicates the Belize district recorded the highest with 70 incidents compared to 66 in 2015, an increase of 4 incidents. The second highest district was Cayo with a total of 34 incidents in 2016 compared to incidents in 2015 reflecting an increase of 7 incidents. Of the 138 murders of 2016, 51 cases have been solved to date, 87 cases are currently under investigation; as a result of those cases solve police have arrested and charged 65 person; namely 60 Belizeans, 2 Salvadorans, 1 Honduran, 1 Guyanese and 1 Guatemalan. 81 were by the use of firearms, 40 were by the use of machete or knives, 2 were utilising stones, 2 were utilising a blunt object, 1 was with the use of galvanised pipe and 12 were caused by unknown weapons. We have classified of those murders 17 we’ve classified as gang related, 10 we’ve classified as domestic jealousy, we’ve had 10 for robberies, we’ve had 22 for disputes, we have 7 for revenge, we have 9 categorised as drug related, we have 1 as a witness of a murder, we have 2 for burglary, we have 1 where we believe an innocent by stander was killed and we have 1 also as mistaken identity, 6 as retaliation, 1 as a theft, 1 as a rape and 50 we do not know the reasons as to why those incidents may have occurred.”
While major crimes decreased countrywide, the Cayo, Stann Crek and Orange Walk districts saw an increase in major crimes. Commissioner Whylie also spoke about the statistics for theft and sexual assault. Rape also saw a decrease. As for arms and ammunition, there were a total of 144 firearms seized in 2016 in comparison to 149 in 2015, reflecting a decrease of 7 firearms seized for 2016. A total of 77 persons were arrested and charged for firearms in 2016. The Commissioner also told us about the drugs statistics. Minister of State of Police, Elodio Aragon, spoke of the way forward and plans for seeing a decrease in the statistics for 2017.
“We all know crime is a major concern for the public, you know, especially when you look at the murders and shooting incidents and gun-related crimes that exist. We at the police department and especially the Ministry of Police, it is a concern for us that we take seriously. Yes we’ve had an increase in police officers, men and women on the ground, but we’ve had an increase in the amount of responsibilities that come with the police department. As our municipalities grow our responsibilities widen, but I do think that when we look at the statistics we would like to see these statistics to be less than what they are today. What I can tell you is that the ministry and the police department are looking strategically as to how to address this situation and one of our biggest problems right now in this country has to do with gangs and gun-related crimes. And these are the things that we will tackle with our new strategic plan to address that situation as best as possible, that will bring about a more focused attention to dealing with that issue. So those plans are definitely being worked on as we speak and we’ll be unveiling that hopefully in February to the media and the public and we hope that with that that will give us a direct impact upon gangs and gun-related crimes.”