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Jan 6, 2016

Police Brass Meets to Discuss Crime Reduction in 2015

The Police Department is generally reticent with statistics and only too happy to keep the media in the relative dark. Of course that’s only when crime statistics don’t look good for the department, not when things are looking much better than they did in 2014. And they are, according to the police, in all categories of major crimes. This morning regional commanders from across the country were called in to Belmopan for the first briefing of 2016, and the media was invited for the first part of the session, the release of crime statistics for 2015. News Five’s Mike Rudon was in Belmopan and has the story. 


Mike Rudon, Reporting

There were two thousand two hundred and sixteen major crimes recorded in 2015, compared to two thousand four hundred and ninety-four in 2014, for a decrease of eleven point one percent. Major crimes include murder, rape, robbery, burglary, theft and carnal knowledge, and reported incidents in every single category went down. It’s a major achievement for a consistently scrutinized and constantly criticized department, especially where murders are concerned.


Allen Whylie

Allen Whylie, Commissioner of Police

“One hundred and nineteen murders were recorded in 2015, contributing to five point four percent of the total major crimes recorded. In 2014, one hundred and twenty three murders were recorded, contributing five percent of the total major crimes during that year. A decrease of four murders, or three point three percent was noted in 2015 in comparison with the previous year.”


Comparing statistics from 2008 to end of 2015, there were fewer murders in 2015 than in four other years.


Allen Whylie

“Murder for 2015, in comparison for the eight year period, is less than that of 2010, which had a total of one hundred and twenty-nine murders, 2011 which had one hundred and twenty-four murders, 2012 which has one hundred and forty-five murders, and 2014 which had one hundred and twenty-three murders. The only years with less murders than 2015 is that of 2008 with one hundred and three, 2009 with ninety-seven and 2013 with ninety-nine cases.”


So what accounts for the reduction in crimes? According to Whylie, criminals weren’t on a go-slow, but the Department managed to implement very effective initiatives.


John Saldivar, Minister of National Security

“It can also be attributed to the increased intervention strategies being utilized in the Belize District formation as well as the other formations across the country. It can also be attributed to the serious emphasis placed on improving our partnership with the community, the increase in the Meet & Greet operations that we have been seeing countrywide and also it can be attributed to the fact that members of the public have been more cooperative in terms of providing their Police with information which assists us to respond in a proactive manner at times and at other times in a reactive manner.”


According to Minister of National Security John Saldivar, this year’s success can also be attributed to a major restructuring of the Police Department over the past few years, starting with the formation of regional commands.


John Saldivar

John Saldivar

“That has met with its successes as we now see in Corozal, in the North, in the West and in the South. And then last year we made the final step in decentralizing the senior command of the Police Department when we decentralized the Eastern division into three separate divisions with three senior officers commanding those divisions. I believe that has resulted in immediate successes in Belize City.”


In times not so past when murders and violent crimes have spiralled out of control, the media has been roundly blamed by the Police High Command. We have been accused of sensationalizing crime. But there was no blame going around today, only good feelings and appreciation.


Allen Whylie

“The media again played a huge role not only in reporting the crime stories but also in ensuring that the police stayed on their “Ps and Qs” and that we were doing what we were supposed to be doing. I was pleased at the second half of 2015 where I saw the media come on board and start to portray some of the positive work that the Police were doing countrywide and particularly in Belize City which is the area in which we are most challenged, and so I must express my appreciation also to the media for the part they played in the fight on crime.”


Awards were given out today to top cops who have excelled in their duties across the country. These men and women in uniform are being recognized for their consistent excellence in the fight on crime, and their contributions to what has been a good year for the Police, statistically speaking. Mike Rudon for News Five.

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