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Major Crimes Down as Belize Police Force Doubles Strength in Under 3 Years

National Security Minister John Saldivar says major crimes are down for 2015 as Belize hopes for a reduction in murders for the year. Hon. Saldivar says that the Belize Police Department has taken hold of the crime situation in the country and is hopeful that by year’s end the statistics will show a decline in the number of people murdered in Belize.

Comparative statistics show that as of November all major crimes, with the exception of murder are below last year’s figures. In 2014, the total major crimes were 2, 287 as at the end of November compared to 2, 027 for 2015. This shows a dead decline in major crimes since 2008:

2008 – 3,126
2009 – 3,118
2010 – 2,447
2011 – 2,320
2012 – 2,259
2013 – 2,227

As of last week, the murder count in Belize stood at 116 for 2015, quite possibly making it the second best year for his department since 2008. With only two weeks remaining this year, Hon. Saldivar says the department is confident that it will be below last year’s figures.

“We may also observe that most of those 116 murders took place in the first half of 2015; we have gotten a grip on this by reducing it from 76 in the first six months of 2015 to only 40 in the last six months of 2015 with two weeks remaining,” he added.

And just last week, December 18, 2015, 167 new officers joined the police force at the graduation ceremony that took place at the National Police Training Academy in Belmopan City. The recruits became officers after completing 16 weeks of intense training in discipline, tactical skills and policing procedures.

According to Hon. Saldivar, the Belize Police Force has now doubled its number of enlisted officers in under three years; from 1,000 to over 2,067.

John Saldivar, Minister of National Security told Channel 5 News, “The number of police officers has grown from just over a thousand when I took office in 2012 to almost two thousand in September of 2015 and with this new squad, it will surpass two thousand and sixty-seven. You may recall that three years ago, Belize was one of the countries in the region and the world with the highest homicide rate per thousand population. One of my government’s primary concerns then with citizen security was the issue of lack of public confidence in our police department and in our capacity to protect our citizens and ensure justice. We knew that if our citizens lacked confidence in the police or in the judiciary or other public authorities, no amount of repression would restore security. The success of our law enforcement system depends on the willingness of all to participate and contribute to public safety.”

The new police officers will be assigned to all districts and all precincts around the country. How much each will receive will depend on the commissioner looking at the crime statistics to see where the hotspots are.

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