Police report slight increase in major crimes for first half of 2016

Police are reporting no major changes in terms of tackling major crimes, including murder. 50 more major crimes – defined as murder; robbery, burglary and theft; and rape and unlawful sexual intercourse (previously carnal knowledge) were reported in the period January to June 2016 – a total of 1 thousand 71 – than in the same period in 2015 – 1 thousand 21. The main culprit for the rise in crime is burglary, which went up by 64 from the same period last years. Ten more unlawful sexual assault cases were reported, but rapes went down by about the same number. There were lower incidences of theft and robbery. 74 murders were reported up to the end of June, versus 73 in the same time last year. Of these, 34 took place in the Belize District, a decrease of 13 from last year’s mark of 47. The next most murderous district is Cayo with 19 murders; none of the others has more than nine. The first quarter from January to March saw 34 murders reported; the remaining 40 took place in the second quarter from April to June. The most murders recorded in any month this year so far is April, which saw 16 murders – two down from last year. A total of 127 shooting incidents have been reported countrywide, only one more than in the same period last year. Police recorded slightly more arrests for major crimes with 190 over 179 last year, but there were 12 less arrests for murder. The arrest rate is just under 18 percent. In the category of drugs, police reported heavy seizures of all forms of marijuana and more crack cocaine, but less regular cocaine. Police have seized four more firearms this year than last year, but approximately 500 less rounds of ammunition. As with major crimes, fewer people have been arrested in these cases.

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