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Nov 6, 2017

New Wheels for the Cops

One of four murders over the weekend occurred in the Old Capital; and even though the loss of one life is too much, the murder did not occur within any of three zones designated as hotspots in the City. Less than two weeks ago, police rolled out the Addressing Crime Together, which is its latest initiative to deal with crime. Today, the ACT was bolstered with a fleet of vehicles that will give the cops more visibility and capability in problem areas. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The fight against crime and violence, a year-round effort for the Belize Police Department, has seen numerous strategies being employed in an attempt to stem the bloodshed that has taken hold of Belize City.  The newest offensive has led to a deployment of officers into three south side neighborhoods that have been classified as problem areas.  Along with that approach comes a bolstering of the crime fighting initiative by the Ministry of Home Affairs.  Since launching ACT on October twenty-seventh, officers have been working overtime putting the acronym into motion.

 

Elodio Aragon Jr.

Elodio Aragon Jr., Minister of State, Police

“They have a tremendous task ahead of them.  The police department is enacted and enshrined with the serious responsibility of law and order in our communities, especially here in Belize and throughout the country, but more so in Belize City where the brunt of the crime we face in terms of violent crimes and gun-related crimes.  And I want them to know that they have this serious task and that the ministry will be supporting them a hundred percent in trying to get them the necessary equipment for them to carry out that responsibility.”

 

Those resources include a fleet of fifteen vehicles that will be used for mobile patrol within the Lake Independence, Iguana Street Extension and Jane Usher Boulevard communities.  Almost a week and a half after Operation Addressing Crime Together was introduced, government has made good on its promise to law enforcement.

 

Allen Whylie

Allen Whylie, Commissioner of Police

“It is one of the tools that we had been urgently in need of to improve our operational capabilities, primarily in Belize City.  And as the minister and other people have said, these vehicles are concentrated, with the exception of one; all the other vehicles are concentrated in Belize City to assist the operational units who are involved in the Operation ACT.”

 

Senior Superintendent Marco Vidal is the head of Eastern Division South where all three hotspots are located.  He provides an update on the crime situation in the context of the marijuana trade and the known players.

 

Marco Vidal

Sr. Supt. Marco Vidal, Commander, Eastern Division South

“The operations are targeting these individuals and it has been something that we have been sustaining.  So certainly it is the fact that the operation is ongoing that has allowed for them to kind of like back off. So since the announcement of the operation, it is not only Belize City doing operations.  We have the areas in the north and we also have in the west that are doing operations, including Hattieville and Ladyville.  So those are like kind of putting in buffers for the importation of some of these drugs; mind you, some of them will still make their way to Belize City.  When they do then we will seek them.”

 

Not only does the presence of these vehicles increase the prominence of officers on the streets, it also allows them to spring into action much faster.

 

Allen Whylie

“I want to assure that these vehicles, yes they will ensure high visibility patrol and will also allow for increased response time, but also we need to ensure that we take great care of these assets because they are very expensive to replace and it is not often that we receive these amounts of vehicles.  But I can tell the minister that we are looking forward to receiving some more vehicles as early as possible and we are also working on other equipment and tools that we need.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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