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Jun 28, 2012

Police week celebrated with cool visits to Belize City Hot Spots

A number of city cops were in the hot spots in the old capital; they didn’t make any arrests, instead they were meeting the residents of these areas. As a part of the police week activities, the officers did one-hour rounds on Mahogany, George and West Streets,  Lovely Lane, Victoria and Usher Streets, Neal Penn Road, Faber’s Road Extension; areas that have been experiencing a spike in crime. News Five’s Andrea Polanco reports one leg of the meet and greet.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

As they go about on foot on their ‘meet and greet’ in hotspot areas, the police officers make stops along the way to chat with residents on the streets, some invite them in their homes. Young boys, senior citizens, parents, are acknowledged with handshakes; but among all the pleasantries, is talk about the serious issue of crime.

 

Gildon Rivers

Corporal Gildon Rivers, Belize Police Department

“People think twice about going out because of not just being mugged but of shooting which is happening and although most of the shooting is being done by people who have gripes with each other but sometimes people get caught in the cross fire and that is where the problem is; so people are kinds scared and concerned about where to go and stuff like that. I was talking to one of the youth man and he was explaining his plight about being picked up by the police and as usual, they would say the GSU crowd, nuh. But he explained that he was picked up and locked up for like forty eight hours and then he get ih jaw bruk and up to this point he is still suffering pain from the jaw problem. So we advised him that there is a complaint board with the police where he can go and lodge his complaint.”

 

While crime is prevalent in many of these areas, there are thousands of law abiding citizens who rely on the police for security. They welcome the increased police presence.

 

Gilbert Sebastian Nunez

Gilbert Sebastian Nunez, Resident, Honey Lane

“It is good to be out here and let the people them know what time it is because without the police mien it’s hard and so it is good to have these events and interview people about fi mek deh know the rights and stuff and there’s nothing wrong with that because it is something good you all doing.”

 

Shirleen Gonzalez

Shirleen Gonzalez, Resident, Usher Street

“To be honest with yuh, I nuh fee safe due to weh di happen but weh ah try do, we try deal with it and we try talk to the kids deh fi show deh that everything weh di happen right now; that when deh grow up, deh could mek it betta eena deh life. Yuh cyaa feel safe because everywhere yuh turn round, yuh si somebody di get shot; di get jack; di get kill; and the question inna yuh mind, is what next; it could be yuh neighbor; yuh family, yuh know.”

 

Kalen Jones

Kalen Jones, Resident, Victoria Street

“Well right now the police man deh di do good and deh nuh di do too bad with deh job and deh di keep up wah momentum weh you could si weh di happen. The kids deh nuh deh pahn the street too much and yuh nuh got too much guys hanging out round bases and thing; everything cool right now but ah nuh know fi how long.”

 

And then, there are those, like twenty four year old Jason Belencio, who gets a bad rap because of his neighbourhood. But he still wants to join the police force.

 

Jason Belencio, Resident

Jason Belencio

“That’s why I come check unu yuh know because I nuh si nothing wrong with the force; I wah join the force and I woulda want nuff ah the youths deh out yah undastand that the force dah nuh wah bad thing. That dah weh I look forward fah cause watch me; I twenty four years old and grow up without a ma and a pa and I deh inna the streets and never get convicted fi not even wah stick ah weed, yuh know. Inna the hood, yuh si, fi dis police week dis ah weh ah like; I like dah unu come round and unu get fi meet people because the society put it like everybody inna the streets dah somebody bad and dah nuh like that. When I buss round the lane dah pahn dah bike right deh, I just gone ker my letta een gone look fi Mista Lino but deh tell mi ih deh dah Belmopan suh  dats why I come talk to unu cause I dah wah know more or less who could help me get een the quickest cause that dah weh I out fah yuh know.”

 

Corporal Rivers

“Well, definitely the Minista supposed to wah di watch this pahn news, suh.”

 

Jason Belencio, Resident

“What! Well, big man, unu help mi out, I wah join the force suh if unu deh out deh and unu hear that, unu help mi out I wah join the force.”

 

While the feedback varies, the police say that small measures like this provide valuable information and can make a difference:

 

Supt. Simeon Alvarez, Belize Police Department

Simeon Alvarez

“A short brief from one of the officers that went in an area, yes, they complain about the behavior of some other officers, right, and with that situation we will address it and see how we can assist them in making or having that good working relationship with the public.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Now, you said that you’ve been doing this through the community policing, have u guys seen a change in terms of a partnership between the community and the police?”

 

Supt. Simeon Alvarez

“Of course, because it will only be the bad guys will not appreciate the presence of the police but the good citizens on a whole, they accept the police presence whenever they come and speak with them.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Now, Corporal, from your interaction with them, were you able to gather that they are willing to partner and work with the police?”

 

Corporal Gildon Rivers

“Some people that I meet, they voiced their opinion; it is a matter of trying to work along with them and see very much what we could get outta them but most people kinda a bit drawn back to give that information cause they feel that their life could be threaten over it. Some people who I talk to, they are willing to talk and so it’s just to get things to together and to put in place because for me generally there is a big problem for witness protection and if that could be sorted out, we could get things worked out.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

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4 Responses for “Police week celebrated with cool visits to Belize City Hot Spots”

  1. DW says:

    i love this mein!!!! an the boy who want to join d force go there n do good!!!! young people are out here with good intention!!!

  2. DW says:

    i love this mein!!!! an the boy who want to join d force go there n do good!!!! young people are out here with good intention!!!

  3. check it out says:

    well the gangbangers are already on the payroll, why not give them guns and uniforms now, Barrow solution to crime..

  4. Storm says:

    A great initiative. Most Belizeans are decent and law-abiding and WANT proper police presence.

    After all, who do the gangsters victimise? Law-abiding Belizeans.

    If I were King, police would be better paid, better trained, and better equipped. And all gangsters would be off the government payroll..

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