A community agenda to solve crime in Cayo Print E-mail
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Thursday, 21 January 2016 00:00

With its continued commitment for proactive policing, San Ignacio Police launched a “Meet & Greet” activity with residents from the Twin Towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena last Friday. Members of the Community Oriented Policing Program COPP as well as other staff members from the San Ignacio Police Formation fanned out to different police zones in the afternoon to meet residents on a face to face basis as well as to take a standard survey on the community’s perceptions regarding police performance.

Officer in Charge of San Ignacio Police who also oversees the Benque and Belmopan Formations, Andrew Ramirez, told police officers last Friday that the community policing was the Police Department’s direction in resolving the crime problem.  Police Officers like Henry Lemus then took his turn along with other colleagues to visit Zone One with intention to return by 4:00 pm that evening.

Superintendent Andrew Ramirez was also present on Wednesday night of last week at the San Ignacio Police Station for a special meeting with the People’s Coalition of Cayo PCC. At this meeting, Julian Sherrard was elected as the new Chairman of the grouping, which is an advisory body established to provide critical and independent advice as well as support the police in order to effectively deal with the crime situation in Cayo. Also elected to the PCC were Bill Butcher as Vice Chairman, John Accot as Secretary and Mary Loan as Treasurer.

As officer in charge for the Western Region, Andrew Ramirez made a commitment to work closely with the PCC and informed that he would like a vehicle on standby with a four man team at the Red Creek Checkpoint at the periphery of Santa Elena Town to stem drug trafficking, which was a fuel to crime. He said he continues to be concerned about the Bullet Tree Road, which was being used as a conduit to Guatemala and where 9 vehicles have so far been stolen and taken through. Ramirez also expressed concern about liquor establishments where in just one village there were seven bars and there were no resident police officers. Meanwhile; the local Liquor Licensing Committee based in San Ignacio Town was still circumventing the police by giving bars extensions into the late night hours --without due notice--and placing the policemen under considerable duress.

A comparative analysis revealed by the Belize Police Department and the Joint Intelligence Coordinating Center, released on January 4th 2016, shows contrasting murder numbers for the Cayo District. While there was just one murder in Benque Viejo for both 2014 and 2015, for San Ignacio and Santa Elena as well as surrounding areas there were 13 in 2014 and 5 in 2015 while in Belmopan there was 5 in 2014 and 21 murders in 2015.