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Sep 28, 2011

Crime Stoppers in Belize

Chris Garcia

Belize is one of thirty-seven countries that have a Crimestoppers hotline to receive tips on criminal activity. The program started in 2004 and there have always been lingering concerns about who answers the calls and whether the promise of confidentiality can be trusted. To address that, Crimestoppers Belize has invited the detectives who take the calls in Miami Dade County, to do an awareness campaign in the Jewel. Today Chris Garcia, the Chief Operating Officer of Crimestoppers Belize explained the details of the visit and commented on whether the impending mandatory registration of cell phones will affect the confidential aspect of the program.

Chris Garcia, C.O.O., Crimestoppers Belize

“We are embarking on a public awareness session for this week and this visit was made possible through a CARSI grant we received through the US Embassy and we’re very happy for that because it was always our dream to bring the detectives who answer the calls for us so that our Belizean public can see that we are not telling a fib when we say that our calls are answered overseas and that ourselves, our local officers whether it’s Customs, Police Immigration, has nothing to do with answering their calls. It’s completely anonymous.”

Delahnie Bain

“The basis of the whole Crimestoppers thing is confidentiality. But with the recent introduction of mandatory registration of cell phones, there may be some concerns about that. Will this registration process affect the confidentiality of the Crimestoppers hotline?”

Chris Garcia

Alex MacDonald

“Absolutely not; from the inception of the program it was designed to accommodate all sorts of phones whether prepaid or postpaid. And people have been calling, I would assume, from all the different category of phones. I have a postpaid phone at home and I do need to keep in contact with the Miami Dade call center and the number has never shown up on my phone bill. so I know that it’s not being recorded, it’s not shown—somebody can take your bill and it won’t show that you called the Crimestoppers number so that registration will not affect it.”

Alex MacDonald, Regional Chairman/Global V.P., Crimestoppers International

“We’ve met with major parts of the community, the Board of Directors of Crimestoppers Belize, the Commissioner and his senior command, Customs and their senior command and our basic goal here is to show the community that your Crimestoppers program works in this community where sometimes you can’t always talk to the police. You have an opportunity now to pick up the telephone or send electronic email to Crimestoppers and we can respond by sending it to the appropriate authorities.”

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2 Responses for “Crime Stoppers in Belize”

  1. Storm says:

    I’m all for Crimestoppers, but I think we ALSO need a Belize chapter of “Guardian Angels.” It’s a volunteer group that conducts unarmed [except with radios and cameras] safety patrols, and it has been VERY effective in the States, and many other countries, including a chapter in Mexico, some in Peru, Brazil, and the Dominican Republic. They are there when the police cannot be there.

    And they will send someone to train Belizeans in their effective methods.

    Check out: http://www.guardianangels.org

  2. Elgin Martinez says:

    Storm:I agree with what storm said,however everything has to start with the Belizean public.

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