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Oct 23, 2019

Police Department Reviews Major Crimes; Murders Down so Far

The Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams was flanked by the top brass of the Belize Police Department, including regional commanders, as he released a crime report. Williams says major crimes have reduced somewhat nationally, but regionally, the western belt encompassing Belmopan as well as Santa Elena and San Ignacio, the numbers have gone up by a hundred percent. Here is News Five’s Duane Moody.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

The third national COMSTAT exercise for 2019 for the Belize Police Department convened early this morning at the Police Training Academy in Belmopan. It was re-introduced by Commissioner of Police Chester Williams to comprehensively review reports on major and petty crimes as well as problem areas across the country. The review is assisting the department to re-strategize to ensure citizen security and a reduction in crimes. With just over two months left in the year, what’s the forecast looking like?

 

Chester Williams

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

“Our figures look good compared to the same period last year. It is not where we would have wanted it to be, but it is still better compared to last year. We have one region where major crimes are up compared to last year; the other three regions are down. We now need to see how we can help the region that is behind to ensure that we close the gap by the end of this year.”

 

Up to October twenty-first 2018, our statistics show that there were one hundred and twenty-three murders. Today, ComPol Williams says that the figures are way less. He agrees; however, that while the murder count is down, several homicides recorded this year have been more vicious and multiples persons have been killed in one given incident. Gang-related murders have also decreased.

 

Chester Williams

“We did have some serious incidents were murders are concerned. We had the triple murder on the highway; we have the five out at sea, then we have the two in San Pedro. And despite the fact that we had those multiple murders within a short space of time or during one incident, we are still able to have a murder figure which is below last year’s figure. That speaks volume to the efforts that we have been doing. And again, compared to other years gone by where gang-related murders were dominating the murder count, this time we are seeing a significant reduction in gang-related murders especially in Belize City.”

 

Loss of life as a result of vehicular accidents on major highways continues to be a thorn, even as the department has put in place anti-drinking and driving initiatives as well as reinforcing the use of protective gear. Over the weekend alone, three persons perished in fatal road traffic incidents.

 

Chester Williams

“It is somewhat of a social issue. Yes we try to do as best as we can. And if you were in there as each presenter was presenting on what happens in their area, you would see that one of the things that I harped on the most is the issue of alcohol consumption. Alcohol consumption is the leading cause of death in our country and until we, as a nation, come to that realization, things are not going to change because we, the police, cannot tell people not to drink.”

 

But even as there has been an overall reduction in major crimes, the western region has exhibited a spike in the past few months. In fact, Williams says that there’s been a hundred percent increase in major crimes in the outskirts of Belmopan and out in Santa Elena/San Ignacio.

 

Chester Williams

“The western region has an increase of ten major crimes compared to this same period last year and they also have a hundred percent increase in murder compared to last year. So for me that is bad and we have to do something to address it. We have since seen a reduction, but we need to ensure that we put together a strategy that will be long-term to be able to address the issue that we don’t see it manifest itself again.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.


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