As those crime figures indicate, all around the country, crime is one of the areas of social breakdown that every community is battling against. But the residents of the Placencia Peninsula are taking an active role in its prevention.
The representatives of most the major organizations in Placencia hired experts to conduct surveys on what the residents wanted to see improved in their community.
The residents indicated that they wanted a better police presence in the area, and as a result the business community and stakeholders secured funding for an initiative to erect a mobile checkpoint on the Placencia Road, as the only entry/exit point into the area.
The proposal was taken to the Ministry of National Security, and they embraced it as a model of the community trying to bridge the divide between the police department and the community.
Today, representatives from the Placencia Steering Committee met with the Minister of National Security, to sign a formal Memorandum of Understanding to implement the police mobile checkpoint.
We spoke to the Chair of the committee who told us about the significance of the MOU.
Here's what he had to say:
Stewart Krohn - Chair, Peninsula 20/20 Steering Committee
"We looked for ways of how we could nip crime in the bud on the peninsula, and we realized that because there is only one road to and from the peninsula, that would be a good chokepoint to see who's coming, whose going, and use it as kind of an intelligence gathering exercise. At the same time, we have a lot more tourist who are renting and driving cars, to just kind of give them the reassurance that are people looking out for their safety. So, we formulated a plan to make it a mobile checkpoint. We canvassed our private sector and business community to see if the financial support was there, and it was. And we put this proposal to the Ministry of National Security, and worked back and forth on the details because police matters, it's very important that the Government monopolizes control. As much as we, civilians, would want to call the shots, it's a joint effort. And we worked out this memorandum of understanding as to how this checkpoint would be manned. That was just one of a number of recommendations that we made, including the upgrading of the police post. And I have to say that the Government has been good to its word, and what we agreed to, they've followed through to. Now, it's etched on black and white, on paper. Now, we will go to the implementation stage."
In the next 2 or 3 months it will be active. The Government of Belize is hoping to adopt this model in other communities across the country.