In an effort to increase the safety of all residents in San Pedro and to curb the issues of crime on the Island, Mr. Steve Spiro arranged for the National Team in charge of Community Policing to visit San Pedro. The meeting was convened on Tuesday, February 5, 2013, at the Town Hall with the presence and participation of all the Neighborhood Watch Presidents, educators, councilors, SPADAI, Mayor Daniel Guerrero, Hon. Manuel Heredia, and Ambergris Today as the media.
Members of the National Team first addressed the proper formation and effective implementation of the neighborhood programs including Mr. Carcamo, Officer Commanding Community Policing Unit; Ms. Cris Garcia, Head of Crime Stoppers Belize; Mr. Gilbert Pitts, National Neighborhood Watch Coordinator; and Mr. Douglas Hyde, National Youth program Coordinator. After their presentations several issues were addressed.
New Officer in Charge of San Pedro Police Department, Luis Castellanos, shows his interest in working along with Neighborhood Watch Groups
There is concern that only 61 Neighborhood Watch groups exist in Belize with 26 in the Cayo District and it is felt that an effort is needed in membership growth. Several incentives were offered for possible growth. It was noted that San Pedro already counts with a Guard Net System, which allows hand held radios to be connected directly to the communications network of the Police Station. However the system has not been activated due to technical difficulties and lack of funds to repair and properly install the base unit. Offers were made by interested groups in San Pedro to assist in this regard and to increase awareness and use of this valuable communications system by all interested parties including hotels, official neighborhood Watch personnel and members.
A big concern is that criminals are targeting children and teenagers in schools to carry out their illegal activities. It was approved that instilling civic pride through educational talks and programs in schools would be carried out. It was also revealed that a high percentage of primary school upper division students (50%) and high school students (65%) have experimented or are using alcohol and marijuana. This was of alarm and a reason an educational program must be implemented soon.
Inappropriate television programs and video games also have a very negative impact on the healthy development of children and action must be taken thereof. Mayor Daniel Guerrero informed that the Council has just recently denied approval of an application to operate a game center that deals with these paint balls (shooting air guns). He hopes that the community will support this action.
This very important meeting agreed that continued attention and assistance by the National Team will be forthcoming to San Pedro Neigborhood Watch Program so that we are covered not only by district and areas but by neighborhood watches by blocks. Observations by Ambergris Today, invited to the meeting, is that Belize counts with valuable expertise in this program and every effort should be made by San Pedro to bring about growth in our local Neighborhood Watch program.
Mr. Gouglas Hyde, National Youth Program Coordinator of Belize, discussed about healthy programs for the youth
Ms. Cris Garcia talked about Crime Stoppers Belize initiative and making more presence in San Pedro