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It used to be one of the island’s most crime-ridden neighborhoods, considered a poor community filled with theft, robbery and even murder, but the San Pedro Police this week reported that the neighborhood has been reported crime free since October 2014.

During the last Heads of Neighborhood Watch Meetings, Deputy of Police Henry Jemmott, stated that for the past three months there were no crimes reported in the Sanpedrito Area that is located west of the airstrip. This, he said, was due to the increase of patrols in the area. The neighborhood is also finally showing a growth in infrastructure and the community is slowly coming out of the poverty ranks.

The Police report indicated that increased patrols in North Ambergris Caye have also lowered the crime rate in that area; seven make-shift sheds were destroyed between Blue Reef and Tranquility Bay and the Belize Coast Guard has helped significantly in the patrolling process as well. The area south of the island has always remained a low crime area due to the assistance of a well-organized neighborhood watch group. The problematic area with more crime reports seems to be town core, stated Jemmott. A much-needed neighborhood watch is being suggested for downtown by the San Pedro Police.

The San Pedro Police Department seems to be hard at work as they also presented to the group their current Action Plan being implemented which includes:

* More ‘Meet & Greet’ activities with the community
* Work on putting together more neighborhood watch groups
* Continue joint operations with the Belize Coast Guard and Customs Department
* Work closely with the Special Branch Unit in weekly operations on the island
* Continue to deploy patrols in North Ambergris Caye
* Closely Monitoring of Prison Releases (being vigilant of released criminals after they have served time in prison. This includes keeping an eye on their activities and home inspections)
* Conducting strategic meetings to tackle specific crime issue that come up

A Public Relations training program for the San Pedro Police Officers has been developed and will be taking place in February. This training includes changing of attitudes of the police officers towards island residents in an attempt to better the relationship between the officers and members of the community, thus enhancing the trust and respect for each other.

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Dorian Nuñez

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