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PERSPECTIVES - Our points of view and the views of "Others" that may help you in the decision making process.

How Can We Reduce Crime

The new year did not start well for Belize when it comes to crime. There were five murders on the first day of 2019; a black scar on Belize, even more so that the US Embassy issued a travel advisory. Additionally, San Pedro is not the only community looking for solutions for crimes, but it is worth giving it a trial because we cannot afford to keep silent about anything that is bothering a community. So here is our perspective and the views of our friends and readers on this issue.

According to experts the best strategy for reducing crimes is based on the model for policing. It is obvious that the first people to come to mind are the police. As soon as confrontation with crime comes about, one calls the police. 

Leaders in the police department feel that hot spot policing is an effective approach to reduce rime. Results have shown that when increasing law enforcement in high crime hot spots there is a significant decrease in criminal activity. In Belize City the hot spot has been identified as South Side and special areas which for ethical reason we will not mention. So which are the hot spots on Ambergris Caye? These are the areas that the police should concentrate on with patrolling and having more resources that would deter criminal activity whether it be dealing and trafficking of drugs, stealing, prostitution and human trafficking.

Some people’s perspective is that the Police know where these hotspots are and who the criminals are but turn a blind eye on them.

Another strategy that has worked well in San Pedro is the establishment of neighborhood watch groups. A perfect example is the positive result of the South End Neighborhood Watch. The more eyes there are to deter criminals from "working" in that area, the less criminal activity there will be. It works so we endorse the formation of Neighborhood Watch Groups in every area of San Pedro- San Juan, San Pedrito, San Pablo, DFC Subdivision, among others.

Sadly, no other neighborhood watch group has been as successful at the SENW. It would be great to see other neighborhoods to take the initiative and work together in organizing strong neighborhood watch groups.  

Install CCTV cameras inside and outside your home to record and monitor any criminal activity. It can help in the apprehension of criminals when you capture their criminal activities on video.

The San Pedro Town Council is encourages every business to install surveillance cameras to help keep a watchful eye on property and street-side activities.

Improve Street Lighting - This is an important service that governments can provide.  Especially in poorly lit areas, good lighting can help reduce crimes because poorly lit neighborhoods make it easy for criminals to operate unnoticed.

A noticeable increase in street lights has been seen around poor lighted areas on the island.

Illegal Drug Use is Related to Crimes - The use of illegal drugs can increase the chance of being in dangerous situations and can compromise the safety of self and others such as committing serious crimes unknowingly. It is important to ensure that everyone in the community is educated about drugs' negative impact.

People’s perspective is that we need the assistance of the police to properly tackle illicit drug activity that haunts our community.

Observe Gun Safety - The presence of illegal firearms in homes can increase the risk of violence even though there re some people keeping them to protect themselves. Good parents and guardians should make sure that everyone at home is fully trained in firearm safety and that the weapon is safely stored and that it is unloaded. If you know of any illegal guns make it your duty to report the matter to the police. 

Guns have infiltrated our society and it’s scary to know that there are many people out there with improper gun knowledge/training and unlicensed firearms.

Educate Everyone - Help children and everyone to understand the consequences of violence. Letting them lay out their thoughts about violence can help them learn how to think about this and other issues. Additionally educate everyone, especially children on how to handle conflicts and problems without using force. 

Teach children at home and in schools that bullying is wrong. Help them to learn how to say no to bullying and bullies. 

On a final note, many experts strongly believe that making strong laws with harsh punishments for the lawbreakers do help in reducing crimes. The punishments serve as deterrents and discourage criminals from committing the same crimes. It is very simple.  Just like rewards are given for our good actions, then punishments are also imposed unto those who break the law and are engaged in violent crimes.

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Dorian Nuñez

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