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Jan 2, 2008

Police statistics show crime is down

Story PictureThe Police Department has released its crime statistics for 2007 and although murders are up, the overall crime rate has dropped significantly. According to a release issued today, a total of three thousand two hundred and four crimes were reported during the year in comparison to three thousand eight hundred fifty three in 2006, a drop of almost seventeen percent. These crimes include murder, robbery, burglary, theft, rape and carnal knowledge. The number of murders reached ninety-seven for the year compared to ninety-two in 2006, with fifty-four of those killings occurring in the Belize District. Cayo was the second most homicidal district with eighteen percent of the reported murders. In terms of catching the perpetrators, cops are claiming a sixty-four percent detection rate, which means that in thirty-six percent of the killings, no one has been arrested. Leading the decrease in other major crime categories were burglaries, which decreased by seventeen percent, rapes which dropped fourteen percent, and robberies, which fell by two percentage points. One disturbing trend was an increase in the theft of firearms which rose from seventy-five in 2006 to one hundred and one last year. Regarding the accuracy of the statistics, we can only say that they were compiled by the department’s Joint Intelligence Coordinating Centre. One indicator that tends to reinforce their credibility, however, is that the police figures are more pessimistic than our own unofficial tally. News Five’s records indicate a total of only ninety-one murders for the year, six less than what the police are reporting. One possible explanation for our lesser number is that, for example, an obvious case of self-defence or a hit and run in which no murder charge is brought, does not enter into our file, while the J.I.C.C. may classify any violent killing as a case of murder.

Using our figures compiled since 2002, it appears that the murder rate tends to fluctuate year to year, ranging as low as sixty-five in 2003 when it nosedived by over twenty-five percent from the previous year. Of this year’s ninety-one murders, fourteen were committed during the single month of March.

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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