The Minister of National Security has recently criticized the media for its crime coverage. At a ceremony in Roaring Creek, the Minister said the media focuses on sensationalizing murders when in fact there has been a steady decrease in murders since Minister John Saldivar took office in 2012. At a passing out ceremony in Belmopan today, he said that in 2015 the major crime count from January to April is at 682 as opposed to 927 in 2012 for that same period and again criticized the media for its crime reports.
Hon. John Saldivar – Minister of National Security
“These numbers are proof positive that our crime fighting strategies are working in terms of robberies, burglaries and thief. However, this is not making the evening news. there is no mention of these successes in the media. What is making the news are the senseless murders among a section of Belizean youths who have decided that they will settle their differences and disputes at the end of a barrel of a gun. The drama that is being played out on the streets among our youths is hardly preventable even by the most ubiquitous Police Department.”
But archived records reveal that there has been forty nine murders since the start of 2015 compared to thirty four murders during the same period in 2014. Well , we spoke to CEO in the Ministry of National Security Col George Lovell today who said that there has been in fact a gradual decrease in “most” major crimes but conceded that the homicide count is not looking good at all.
Col. George Lovell – CEO, Ministry of National Security
“When we make comparisons from 2012,2013, 2014 and 2015, what we observe is that there has been a gradual decrease in most major crime with the exception of homicides. Homicides, as you know, even the best year in terms of the homicide rate, is still not good enough. It is something that we constantly have to be constantly working on to insure that the numbers are not the ones that we have been experiencing recently. This year has not been a good year for us as it relates to homicides. As a matter of fact, we are about fifteen or so more than we were o date last year. That is quite worrying for me because it means that we will have a challenge over the next six months in order to get the same type of results we got last year or better.”
As for the factors that played out in the reduction of most major crimes, colonel Lovell said investment was a key contributing factor.
Col. George Lovell
‘The contributing factor, in my opinion, is the investment that this government have placed in our law enforcement agencies. We have had two recruit intakes in the excess of a hundred and thirty in each of those intakes. The numbers that we have placed into the street, especially in Belize City obviously given the Police Department they type of capacity that they need in order to effectively police these areas. One of the other things that we have done, that I believe has contributed to the reduction in major crime is the fact that we are getting a little bit closer to the community.”