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Dec 17, 2009

Police say crime is down… but is it?

Story PictureEarlier this week, part of a study called the Male Social Participation and Violence Study in Belize, was released. The research will not be completed until June 2010 but the initial findings of the group led by Doctor Herbert Gayle of Jamaica showed that with a statistic of thirty four murders in 2008, the jewel is not a good or safe place. 2009’s murder count as of Tuesday was thirty-three. The murder of Dwayne Lopez takes that count to thirty-four. It’s a tie with 2008, and the bad news is that 2009 is not over. With Gayle’s unsettling report out, the police department released its own statistics and believe it or not, the cops say crime is down. Duane Moody reports.

Duane Moody, Reporting
According to Commissioner of Police, Crispin Jefferies, there has been a decrease in crime when compared to same period last year. Jeffries says that the crime rate is down by nine percent—which is one percent shy of his promise to reduce crime by ten.

Crispin Jefferies, Commissioner of Police
“I can boastfully say that we are very close to that ten percent and I can also boastfully say that murder is down; down by more than ten. But it shouldn’t be boastfully said about because when I look at Dr. Gayle’s statistics of the region, we are not there yet. We actually had a small argument on the side—myself and Doctor Gayle—whether we will be below thirty percent this year and I said when you come back I’ll collect on that bet.”

While there has been an increase in the number of burglaries and robberies Jefferies says there is a decrease in murder cases.

Crispin Jefferies
“Economic crimes, the crimes that impacts the most on the value of properties stolen or recorded damaged continues to rise. That is because we look at two areas of crime; burglaries, aggravated burglaries, thefts. You will see there are several categories of thefts and I don’t want to go into it in a lot of details because we’ve done this several times before and you are aware of where it goes. And then there are crimes of robberies. Robberies are at five hundred and ten and burglary is one thousand one hundred and ninety-six. Volume crimes—these are crimes of violence and disrespect. You will se harm, aggravated assault, wounding and damage to property, they will number the highest in our statistics monthly, annually because we are a society who has lost some of the values. So a little bit more respect in our society we will see some of the volume crimes decrease. However, if we can make that effort to successfully arrest and prosecute some people then we can continue to see further reduction.”

The police figures show that the period with the least crime was in October to December. May, on the other hand, topped the charts with seven hundred and fifty eight crimes reported.

Crispin Jefferies
“Between January to now, the word diminish or decline applies, as you can see continuous reduction 2141, 2049, 2006, and then to the marginal figure of 1525. There is an interesting comment made by Doctor Gayle and that comment is that when we see an increase in economic crimes, we see a decrease in violent crimes and he said to me that he attributes the reduction in murder to the spate of increases in economic crime and I am frightened by that statement because when I look at my statistics, my economic crime has seen marginal increase and I am wondering now if I am living in false times because it is likely that the considerable substantial increase that I have seen in reduction in the murder rate is short lived.”

Jefferies says that the police department has been working with government agencies on projects to minimize the level of crime. Duane Moody, reporting for News Five.

At the national level, the statistics reveal that the Eastern region, which includes the Belize District and the cayes, are the hub of approximately forty percent of monthly criminal activity. The Cayo District or the Western region generates about twenty-percent of crime, while the two northern districts account for about twenty percent as is the case in the Southern Districts.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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