Coconut Drive Neighborhood Watch launched

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 15, No. 35            September 1, 2005

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With the recent outbreak of crimes and criminal acts that has plagued the island, the community is coming together to combat this dilemma. In an effort to alleviate or reduce these crimes, groups of people are launching a neighborhood watch in their area. On Saturday, August 27th, concerned Coconut Drive residents met at the San Pedro Fitness Club to discuss possible ways to stop crime from occurring in that area.

   Present at the meeting was the manager of the Orange Gallery and Special Constable, Daniel Cruz, President of the South Neighborhood Watch, Jules Escalante, Dr. Lerida Rodriguez, Doug Campbell, Dr. Wil Lala and other Neighborhood Watch pioneers who gathered in support of the summit. The points discussed in the meeting included ways to start a neighborhood watch, how to be a part of a group, what can and will be done. Daniel stated the main objectives of the watch, including suggestions to post "Neighborhood Watch" signs and to create speed bumps on Coconut Drive including in front of the Island Academy. Other important issues were brought up and the organizers took the time to encourage the rest of the public to join forces and launch their own neighborhood watches.

   An opportunity was given to everyone to state their opinions and suggestions towards the matter. Dr. Lerida stated, "the neighborhood watch will benefit a lot of us and this in turn can prevent violent crimes from occurring." Dr. Will Lala also gave his input and stated, "[] the watch is a great idea and I will support it all the way, but communication needs to be the number one thing in order to make it work." Crime prevention was a big part in the discussion, along with detecting and reporting suspicious behavior. Plans were made including a social function which will aid in raising funds in order to pay for the incurred expenses that the Neighborhood Watch may have.

   At the end of the meeting, a Board of Directors was elected; Daniel Cruz was selected as Neighborhood Watch President. Vice President, Lerida Rodriguez, Secretary Cindy Reinert and Treasurer Chris Eager all humbly accepted to take full responsibility of their positions.

   At the end of the meeting everyone agreed that coming together as a unit and really putting the watches in place can and will make for better living conditions. The general public is urged to combat the crimes on the island by forming their own alliance and making the neighborhood watches grow throughout the island. Together we can make a difference in the fight for stability and freedom on the island.
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