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Sep 7, 1999

Police increase patrols at schools

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With four children murdered in the last school year and incidents of child molestation on the rise, the police are increasing their presence in and around Belize City schools. To remind parents of the role they must play in helping to keep the children safe, the police held a press conference this morning at the Raccoon Street Station.

This school year, the police Zone Beat Liaison Officers are even more committed to our students’ safety as they make their way to and from their schools. The officers have been informed of the times schools begin and finish, lunch periods, and recesses.

Sgt. Gilbert Pitts, Head, Z.B.L.O. Program

“Definitely I would like the parents to pay attention to their kids. If you see a child come home with money that you did not give him, where did this kid get the money? If they come home with toys or books or whatever that they did not leave with, ask the kid where they got the stuff from and try to return them.”

Sgt. Gilbert Pitts, who heads the Z.B.L.O. Program says while schools are doing what they can to help keep students safe, they are asking schools to hire more security and for the school’s security and truant officers to be more vigilant and patrol the entire compound.

Sgt. Gilbert Pitts

“Instead of staying in one place, hire more security so they can walk around the perimeter of the schools. Because like there is an incident, I am not going to mention the name of the school, but a kid was going to the bathroom and a man just walked into the bathroom.”

Fortunately no one was hurt in that case. Pitts says regular schoolyard patrols will become more frequent. Christy Castillo, the Police Press Officer says the program can only work with the community’s help.

Christy Castillo, Police Press Officer

“Parents, don’t let your children walk to and from school alone. Form friendships with your neighbors so if for some reason there is no one to pick up or take your child to school ask another trustworthy neighbor or friend; or if the child is old enough have them use the buddy system. Groups walking together is always safer than someone walking alone.”

The police are also asking drivers to be more careful and watch for children walking or running through the streets. Meanwhile if you do see anything suspicious you are asked to call the police hotline number 44646.

The Ministry of Education is continuing its school warden system with wardens posted at each Belize City primary school. They are now in green uniforms instead of the yellow T-shirts.

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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