After a successful operation on the island by the Eastern Police Division in mid March, a smaller unit was back on the island over the long holiday weekend to insure that San Pedro, Ambergris Caye would have a safe Easter break.
Members of the Belize Gang Suppression Unit were back on the island to do follow up surprise drug raids, conduct sweeps in North Ambergris Caye and secure crime hot spots in town. In mid-March, the island experienced a spike in criminal activity, in particular shooting incidents, that was of great concern for residents. During the first raid before Easter, 47 personnel from Eastern Police Division, headed by Sr. Supt. Edwards Broaster descended to the island of San Pedro to conduct police operations which were very successful.
A smaller unit was on the island during the second raid which insured that the island was safe. No major crime was reported other than minor altercations during the long weekend.
During a meeting with the heads of Neighborhood Watches on the island, Officer in Charge of the San Pedro Police Department, Luis Castellanos, indicated that the southern end of Ambergris Caye is the safest area on the island with Town Core, San Juan Area and Boca del Rio Area having the highest incidents of crime. Last month’s crime report indicated an increase in criminal activity on the island, particularly in these three areas.
Although the crimes taking place in downtown San Pedro (concentrated on Barrier Reef Drive/Front Street) were mostly theft of gasoline from golf carts, OIC Castellanos is concerned that the crimes could escalate to more serious one. The reports indicate that they are occurring mostly during the weekend and that there are no neighborhood watch groups in the three most crime prone areas in town to assist the Police. Castellanos indicated that he has increased patrols in these areas.
Suggestions brought forward by members of the neighborhood watch groups include implementing a curfew for underage residents as criminals have been identified as being young teenagers and also creating a stronger surveillance camera system along with the businesses on front street. The San Pedro Police Department has indicated that surveillance footage from some businesses has been key in assisting it with the apprehension of criminals.
The heads of Neighborhood Watch Groups meet on a regular basis with the San Pedro Mayor and other officials to come up with suggestions, recommendations and plans of action to work for a safer Ambergris Caye.