Belize Crime Rates and Public Opinion
Crime is one of Belize’s major problems, and it is dangerously on the rise. The most common crime is theft and it can come in a variety of forms including armed robbery, purse snatching, and pick pocketing. Belize has also become a transshipment point for drugs, most commonly cocaine and cannabis which has resulted in lots of money laundering activity. Shootings, stabbings, murder, and rape are also suspected to be on the rise. Crime in Belize is most common in Belize city but it is not unusual for crimes to be reported in other parts of the country including San Pedro, Cay Caulker, and Placencia.
The majority of crime happens in these areas because they have a high volume of tourists who are easy targets for the criminals especially in unsafe areas. There is also an increase in crime around the holidays and spring break. Because a large amount of crime occurs in resort areas there is a lack of reporting on these issues because the resort does not want future tourists to know about these problems.
In 2008 there were 103 homicides making a homicide rate of 34 per 100,000 people which has more then doubled since 2000. Along with the homicide increase, the total number of reported robberies, burglaries, and thefts has also increased about 7.5% to 3,248. That rate has increased in 2010 6 in one weekend.
According to NationMaster.com, human trafficking has become a major transnational issue for Belize including the trafficking of men, women, and children for both labor and sexual exploitation. Trafficking in Belize has become easy because of the lack of monitoring their borders with their neighboring countries including Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras.
Many people are concerned about the increase of crime in Belize and the criminal justice system of the country is not responding to the issue. Perhaps one of the biggest concerns is the decreasing number of tourists visiting the country. Because tourism is responsible for approximately 300 million U.S. dollars each year and it is one of their largest sectors of the economy they must react to this crime issue throughout their country if they want this income.