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Jun 9, 2004

Police hold open day at Queen St. station

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With an apparent lull in the recent storm of violent crime, law enforcement authorities took the opportunity to do some important P.R. work as part of police week. Today the public–including News 5′s Jacqueline Woods–was invited to Eastern Division headquarters on Queen Street for an open house.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting

The pictures may have been disturbing for some students to view, but the twisted metal, blood, and bodies are the cold realities of what has been occurring routinely on our roadways.

Sgt. Raymond Berry, Police Traffic Branch

“We show them because we want to explain it to people and let them see what drink and drive does to people. We want to show them what happen to drivers when they do not abide by the rules of the road.”

The display was part of an exhibition held to observe police week. The open day provided visitors with detailed information about law enforcement and what is involved in the fight against all kinds of crimes. While authorities believe their recent efforts to improve traffic safety have led to a decrease in fatalities, bad driving remains a major problem.

Sgt. Raymond Berry

“They are driving recklessly, without due care and attention. Some of them, they fail to stop at stop signs, that is the main thing which cause most of the accidents; they fail to stop at junctions.”

But traffic control is only a small part of police work. This collection of toy guns and other paraphernalia was taken from students after the items were discovered by their teachers in classrooms and school bags.

Jannine Gillett, Student, Holy Redeemer Primary School

“I think it is very horrible for students to have those kinds of things and I don?t think they should be having them any at all. I don?t think their parents should let them have them.”

The situation is more deadly outside the school grounds. These guns, including the Uzi automatic, were all confiscated from persons on the streets.

Sgt. Calbert Flowers, Zone Beat Liaison Officer

“These weapons do exist on the streets. We have a lot of firearms stolen, people who have license for their firearms leave them careless, or some of them are taken away from security guards and other people. So a lot of these firearms were legal license firearms and the others are smuggled in across the borders.”

The Anti-Drug Unit has also been busy tracking and combating the transhipment of narcotics including the sale and possession of cocaine, heroin, crack, and cannabis.

A.S.P. Joseph Myvett, Commander, Anti-Drug Unit

“We conduct operations almost daily and we have had quite a bit of successes, especially in marijuana eradication, as well as about two weeks ago we got a bale of cocaine out at sea.”

A.D.U. was established four years ago to specifically tackle the drug problem. It is assisted by a Canine Unit. But as dog handler Brent Hamilton and his four legged companion demonstrated, it takes a team effort to achieve success.

Amanda Ramirez, Student, Holy Redeemer School

“I think it is very important for us to come and view it to see how the police unit is doing in Belize. And I think overall the exhibition was great.”

Jimmy Robinson, Student, Sister Clara Muhammad School

“That?s a very encouraging thought, but sometimes you can say that it?s a risky job at the same time, because maybe they have shootouts and stuff like that, so you have to think about it to see if you can make it through the training and stuff.?

Authorities say while they are encouraged by the decreasing numbers in crimes such as burglary, robbery, theft, and rape the Criminal Investigation Branch is concerned with the number of murders committed in the past five months, particularly in Belize City.

P.C Gerald Jones, In charge of C.I.B. Records

“I found out that the murders have increased by two in comparison with last year from January to May. I find out that January to May of last year 2003 we had a total of twelve murders, in comparison from last year to now, January to May, we found out that we have fourteen murders, so it?s an increase of two.”

Det. Insp. Santiago Ciau, Sr., Officer Commanding, C.I.B.

“Murders are major incidents. We treat them as high profile crimes and we do our best to try and detect all these crimes. If you can look at the statistics, we have made several arrests in several murders that have been occurring within Belize City. And there are a few; I would say about four murders, still undetected. That is not saying that we will leave that and will not follow it, those files remain open.”

As the police continue their efforts, one student summed it up best when he said the exhibition gave him all the reasons why he should stay away from a life of crime.

Jimmy Robinson

“You have to continue and study hard not to try to get involved in some of the things that you have seen around here today. Try to stay out of trouble and continue on as far on with your education as you can go and not to get involved with drugs and stuff like that.”

After viewing the displays the students were given their own personal booklet on what they and their family can do to prevent crime. Jacqueline Woods for News 5.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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