It is very sad to report that crime is still a problem in our lovely island of Ambergris Caye. Criminal violence is escalating right before our eyes and it’s a challenge with the high availability of drugs and firearms out on the streets. The police are doing what they can but if we want to get back our island for it to be the safe haven it once was then we have to work as a community and help the police and help each other to getting back a safe San Pedro.
For the Footprint for Peace Anti-Crime Rally the consensus of the people was: "We want to save San Pedro and bring back peace and safety. As long as the guns keep making noise, we will also make more noise until the authorities listen to our cries. We want guns removed from our community.” It is with this in mind that Retired Police Superintendent, Rudolph Orio, held a meeting on community policing in San Pedro on Saturday, May 17, 2014 at Fido’s Courtyard.
It is time to take back what is rightfully ours and have a safe community. According to Mr. Orio, nothing we do will be enough without the will, support and vigilance of the communities. So what can we do? Well to overcome this challenge that we are currently faced we must unite and plan intelligent activities where everyone is involved; business sector and residents working hand in hand to combat crime.
According to Orio, there are three key pillar steps to reducing crime: Strong Laws, Stringent Enforcement and Community Partnership. There is a need to work with sensitivity and intercultural awareness by responding to needs identified by residents. The community and the Police must come together to find strategies to solve problems. Establishing an atmosphere of trust, availability and communication is crucial to the relationship. Active volunteers are solid assets for the community. They can build positive relationships with youths; we know that even one caring adult can keep a young person away from crime.
“The challenge is for each resident to remain committed to the struggle of partnership in the communities,” commented Mr. Orio. “Training is the back bone of any change process and requires a commitment of time and resources; patience is necessary during this phase. You can rest assured that the Commanding Officer Mr. Luis Castellanos will, with his vision and leadership, continue to train residents in all aspect of community policing and work hand in hand with “La Isla Bonita” to find solutions affecting the quality of life and reduce crime.”
Join the Citizens on Patrol
One thing remains crystal clear, that the safety and welfare of residents and visitors remain the priority of all residents. Sanpedranos are being urged to become COPs (Citizens on Patrol). This is the first step to getting our island back. Persons 18 years or older who are interested in making San Pedro safer then you should be a COP! Register with Officer in Charge Luis Castellanos at the San Pedro Police Station or with any member of the Footprints for Peace Belize.