Frustrated and afraid with the crime situation that plagues their neighborhood, residents of the San Pedrito Area heeded to the call of a community meeting spearheaded by the San Pedro Police Department that decided to reach out to community members in the wake of the murder of a two year old boy.
The San Pedro Police Department held a community outreach meeting on Thursday, February 27, 2015, with the main purpose of having residents working along with the police in fighting crime. The meeting was very well attended mainly by residents of the San Pedrito Area who today feel more afraid than ever living in an area with the highest crime on the island.
Even though Police statistics show that downtown San Pedro is the area with the highest crime incidents (mostly theft and robbery), these same statistics indicate that the type of crime taking place in the San Pedrito area is more serious, involving gang activity, gun fire and homicide. Having lost the trust and faith in the Police Department, residents of the area decided to attend the meeting to hear what the police officers had to say.
During the meeting, the police officers reached out to the neighborhood with their main incentive to start building a more positive relationship with the community and to restore their faith in the department. Presentations by the police included reporting on the crime situation and where it takes place on the island so that residents understand the situation and also explaining what all is involved in crime fighting.
The Community Policing Officer explained how the department works in other areas other than directly dealing with crime fighting which include visits to local businesses, working on the youth cadet program, community policing and setting up neighborhood watches.
The meeting was very successful in getting both island residents and the police officers discussing major issues that are affecting the island community when it comes to crime and the safety of its residents. Attendees expressed their frustrations, lack of trust in the police department and their fears, while the police opened up to the community and help guide them in various areas in which both could work in positively fighting crime.
The meeting seemed to have ignited positive incentives in crime fighting as both parties involved are tired of the situation and are willing to take action against crime. The head of police in San Pedro indicated that the department will start with sector policing with additional officers that have been requested for the island. They are expecting as much as 12 new police officers for the island who will aid in more specific policing in the neighborhoods.
The department is also working on putting up localized police booths in the different neighborhoods in order to increase response time to crime. The first of them will be set up in the San Pedrito Area. Officer Jemmott encouraged residents of San Pedrito to form a neighborhood watch and for residents in the area to join the department in their citizens policing programs, both ideas were very well received by those in attendance.
The San Pedro Police Department will work on conducting these community meetings at all the different neighborhoods in Ambergris Caye.
San Pedrito Area residents speak out and express their concerns to the San Pedro Police Department