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May 15, 2018

69 Murders for 2018; What’s Driving Killings?

There have been an alarming number of homicides countrywide for the first five months of this year and counting. More than sixty-five are recorded which means that so far, there are as many as seventeen more than in 2017. Even worse is that over fifty percent of those murders have been committed in Belize City and despite a number of initiatives to tame crime, it has been growing steadily. Gang related violence is at the core of the mayhem, which now stands at disturbing proportions. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

A look at the murder statistics shows that there have been sixty-nine murders across the country up to May fifteenth of this year; that’s twenty-two murders more than 2017 for the same period. Our statistics show that in both years, March was the deadliest month in the first five months of the year; 2017 recorded seventeen homicides while 2018 shows a whopping twenty-one murders. With the exception of February which came dead even at ten murders when comparing both years, January is showing fifteen murders for 2018, six more than 2017 figures; April is at sixteen murders, this increased from six last year. It’s mid-May and the murder count is at six, which is one more than the same period in 2017. In early January, Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie said the department is working on improving its response to crime.

 

Allen Whylie

Allen Whylie, ComPol [File: January 24th, 2018]

“Where we are working to improve is the response time and the quality of the investigation. Crimes will always occur. We will have to be smart in terms of the investigation, but the public is the key in this fight. They have to step up and assist the department in terms of the preventative efforts as well as the sharing of information, intelligence. I mean even where there might be incidents known to them. They can alert the police in terms of the parties and we will be prepared to send in our people to meet and try to mediate before things escalate to these natures.”

 

Based on the statistics we have, just under half of the number of homicides so far occurred in Belize City alone; thirty-three to be exact and those murders have not only been confined to the south side of Belize City. In April there were several killings on the north side, for which interventions were put in place.

 

Chester Williams

Chester Williams, Deputy Commissioner (Operations) [File: April 18th, 2018]

“We have observed over the past couple of weeks that majority of the shootings were occurring in region two and we can no longer continue to see region two operating on its own. So, now we have now dovetailed their operations into ours with some strength in it to ensure that we are able to provide the same level of services to region two that we have been providing to region one.”

 

Interestingly, there is also the case of missing person Alaine Garcia for which forty-five-year-old mechanic Albert Jones Senior was charged on May tenth for his murder. Even in the absence of a body, police say Jones Senior confessed to the killing after claiming supernatural sightings of the victim since he was shot dead on February twenty-third.

 

Albert Jones Sr.

Voice of: Kellyn Neal, Common-Law Wife [File: February 23rd, 2018]

“Now the police know that they and the media, they don’t have a good relationship. They can’t expect someone to walk up to them and say ‘oh, this young man get shot,’ they need to do their investigation. Come to find out that my common-law wasn’t detained any at all – or so they say, that it wasn’t him because the pictures I am seeing of this Alaine Garcia, it’s not him. So I started to put it together, and said if this incident happened about seven-thirty to seven-thirty-six, that’s the time when he is walking back from taking my kids to catch the bus. Because they go and catch the bus quarter to seven, and the bus comes quarter past seven, and it’s a fifteen-minute walk from the roadside to my house back. And then when I continued to ask round the village, eyewitnesses are telling me that when the gunshots rang off, they saw him run. So my speculation is that he probably got shot and because the area is very big, he probably ran in the bush and collapsed and can’t make it out back.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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