Assistant Commissioner of Police Elodio Aragon said in a press conference today Monday, December 12, at the Racoon Street Police Station, that the police department is requesting the assistance of the general public in carrying out their Christmas anti-crime operation.

Aragon said that the operation commenced on November 13, 2012, as a crime reduction initiative by the Eastern Division of the Belize City Police Department and the operation has so far been productive.

“Since the operation commenced in November we have seen a marked reduction in crime,” he said. “I want to assure the public that this Christmas we are working quite diligently to ensure that they have a safe Christmas,” he went on to say.

Aragon said the presence of police officers in certain areas in the city and the numbers of available police officers from different divisions participating in the operation have contributed to the impact of the operation. He said he wants to assure the public that the police department is doing their part in looking after the public’s safety, but the department also needs the cooperation of the general public to ensure their security.

“The police department can only do so much when it comes to us putting out our officers in the areas we have identified that there is a lot of business taking place,” Aragon said. “But I would like to speak out to the general public because the police cannot do it alone. We need the support of the public until the end of the year, especially during the Christmas time,” he added.

Aragon said the number one way for the public to assist the police is to report crime. He said that he encourages the public to call 911 and Crime Stoppers to report any suspicious activity or information they have regarding criminal activity.

“This is the way we work and I believe if we work together, we can see a big difference in this city,” he said. “Statistics have shown that when the public works with the authority, a lot can be done.”

Aragon said he needs the public to also be aware of what they need to do to keep safe. He said he advises the public to secure their homes, vehicles and motorcycles when leaving them, making sure they are properly locked and secured. Also, they must not leave purchased items or anything of value in plain view in vehicles, and should inform neighbours of their absence when leaving home.

“If every community person does this, it will go a long way with us,” he said.

Aragon said that he wants to remind the public that public drinking and unauthorized gambling are illegal activities. He said that the laws regarding those offenses, as well as drunk driving and the unauthorized use of fireworks, will continue to be strictly enforced during the Christmas time. He said that the sale of fireworks also requires a license.

According to police reports, as of December 10, 2012, there have been 133 murders in the country, as compared to last year when there were 124 murders for the year ending December 2011. Aragon said that the complete statistics on the crime situation will become known to the public at the end of the year.

“At the beginning of next year we could look at all the statistics and discuss where we are and where we need to go,” he said.

Aragon said that next year there will be a number of plans executed with an aim to reduce the crime statistics.

Amandala