Assistant Commissioner of Police Elodio Aragon, Jr who is the officer commanding Eastern Division says that there is a new crime fighting plan being implemented and it includes a re-zoning of the Belize District, new vehicles for the police department and a continuation of foot patrols in the old capital.
Earlier today, the Police Department held a press conference as a result of the shooting death of a standard three student. The presence of the police and B.D.F. on the streets was recently increased by eighty additional personnel. But with seven shooting incidents occurred over the weekend, it seems that the Ministry of National Security’s plan also needs to be upgraded. At today’s press conference, the police briefed the media on the success rate of the increased patrols and their effectiveness in the fight against the crime and violence across the city. And with the continued hike in criminal activity, they also presented a briefing on the plans that will be implemented to counteract those activities.
Andrea Polanco, Reporting
Since April, The Belize Police Department made a move to have more boots on the ground to help maintain peace. Since May, four murders have taken place in Belize City. But Police Press Officer, Fitzroy Yearwood, says the increased presence of the law enforcement officers is contributing positively to the fight against crime:
Inspector Fitzroy Yearwood, Police Press Officer
“The police presence was more than usual on the boulevard, one; the quick response of police in the area, led to the apprehension of Andrew Willoughby on Arlington Drive. Arlington Drive is only a few feet away from the scene of the crime. Mister Willoughby was detained trying to reach to his home. So the police presence, it’s there, but like I said, the window of opportunity is what causes crime. This person committed the murder on boulevard and was apprehended only a few feet away. So I must say, while we are not everywhere all the time, the police presence led to the apprehension of the accused gunman. What I am saying is the patrols were put in place after Kaylon Matura’s murder and we have seen the end result. And we will continue our police presence as much as possibly, our patrols will improve and we will continue to improve. At the same time, we are asking the assistance of the general public. We do not know when people are lay-waiting each other, but if you see strange people in your neighborhood—people that you know are out of place—and you call 911, more than likely the police response will be good.”
Assistant Commissioner of Police, Elodio Aragon Junior, says the department is devising a plan to curb the high crime levels:
Elodio Aragon Jr.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Elodio Aragon Jr., O.C.E.D.
“In regards to what the Belize Police Department is doing in regards to addressing the situation. I know that last month I wasn’t here, I was aware, but I can tell you that we recorded twelve murders last month, April. I can also tell you that this month, May; we have five murders up to today’s date. And I can tell you that we are presently working towards a plan that will see improvement in regards to the response of police to incidents. This entire plan along with plans that will work together to address the crime situation is presently been put on paper and is presently being effected slowly and we hope to see that at the end of this month, we will have this plan into action. The plan, basically we are looking at re-zoning Belize City. Presently, we have six police zones in Belize and we have since looked at these six zones and broken them up to give us eleven new police zones. So the Belize District will have eleven police zones and we have also hoped, once end of month comes, we should be receiving ten vehicles from the U.S. Embassy which will see us having one vehicle per each zone. So the eleven zones that we will have come end of this month—the maps have already been drawn and we are just getting ready to receive the new vehicles from the U.S. Embassy which will then be put in these police zones therefore increasing our response to call or all calls of emergency and also having more persons on the ground. That is one part of our plan. The other part which has already taken form to a certain extent, is that of creating two small task force to deal directly with these persons who we have identified as committing these shooting—especially the shooting incidents within Belize City. So that is already ongoing. Along with reconfiguring our patrols to ensure that the men and the women on the ground are being effective in dealing with the crime situation. That means our stop and searches, the way we patrol on the ground, looking at the places and the times we patrol—all of these things are presently being done to ensure that we maximize the effectiveness of our police on the ground. This along with our meet and greet campaign and along with our campaign to address anti-social behavior and to deal with the quality of life issues that concerns all citizens of this country; especially the residents of Belize City. So all of this is coming, it is a plan that we have put together and I believe at the end of the month, we will unveil this plan along with all the maps for you to see. But that is where we are going.”
Reporting for News Five, I am Andrea Polanco.
Police say that they have made progress with the May seventeenth murder of Jerminie McNab, the owner of Mobile Hardware. The cops are seeking two suspects in connection with that incident.