Citizen Security in Belize

Oct 2013
In the face of rising crime rates and increasingly complex transnational and local criminal dynamics, Belize's limited institutional resources are overstretched. Youth violence and gangs are of particular concern in urban areas, where lack of education and employment options converge with the prevalence of guns and trafficking networks. Despite some promising smaller-scale crime prevention initiatives, a comprehensive crime prevention strategy requires more significant institutional reforms. This Technical Note reviews the current trends in crime and violence in Belize and the government's existing policies and programs in the sector. It then proposes several short and medium-term actions to strengthen the government's ability to prevent and reduce crime and violence, such as consolidating strategic planning and information management efforts, designing prevention programs more tailored to specific at-risk groups, bolstering criminal investigation and community policing resources, and adapting the corrections system to the specific needs of juveniles and gang-involved youth.