Five murders have been committed within three days of the start of the New Year. All of them are a result of gun violence and all have been committed in Belize City. City residents have expressed grave concerns over the situation. The three Assistant Commissioners of Police in charge of Eastern Division say they will keep working with the community to reduce crime while cracking down on criminals. ACP Chester Williams, ACP Edward Broaster and ACP Dezerie Phillips, assured the public that the Belize Police Department will do what it needs to do to keep Eastern Division safe.
“Yes the way the year began is of concern and rightfully so three murders in two days is way too much.”
“Yes the year has started off on a concerning note of course with respect to these recent murders but change is not an instant thing.”
“One thing I can assure you is that for 2017 the criminals will have more press conferences than the police, especially in the rural Eastern Divison.”
“My message, I have been here for one year and six months since I came back and during that period of time we have tried a new approach to policing which will continue but while we embark on that new approach I will send sound warning to those persons who have not taken advantage of the one year and six months to decide whether or not they want to change their lifestyle, that the style of policing will be changed where they are concerned; in the sense that you cannot be out there on one hand committing crime and pushing others to commit crime and on the other hand think that you can call me and I will take the police off your back, that will not happen. I have given my strike team new directions this morning and like Mr.Broaster said the criminals will be complaining more of the police. It is not my style to brutalize people so police brutality is surely out of the window. The officers will be out there in a more aggressive manner in the gang ridden neighborhoods conducting stop and searches of them, their vehicles whatever they are seen on. They will be harassed by the police until they get the message. From a law enforcement stand point for Southside Belize city they will see a more aggressive style of policing and please do not misquote the aggressive style I reiterate; no police brutality unless there is a need, if anybody wants to do the police anything the police have a right to respond and when the police do respond the police must respond in accordance with the law.”
“These incidents, shootings and murders it is on a wide scale a matter of social ills that will take much more than the police and the police’ effort in order to successfully see a drastic reduction in these types of incidents and we intend to embrace the new year with that vision, to get other partners, government and non-governmental agencies involved more than they are doing.”
“When you look across Southside Belize city there are only two gangs that are creating problems for us, two; I am not going to call their names they know who they are and this year 2017 is the year we will part companies where those gangs are concerned. They must understand that they need to shape up.”
“The last murder in the Rural Eastern Division put us one above last year’s numbers, major crimes on a whole is down over all for Rural Eastern Division and we enjoy good cooperation with members of the community and that partnership will continue and we believe that with more groups being established within Rural Eastern Division we will drive down crime significantly.”
Last year ended with 138 murders.