Higher murder record in 2012, but police step up efforts for holiday season

With a little over two weeks remaining to bring in the New Year, the grim news coming out of the Police Department is that the official murder figures this year are at an all time high, Officer Commanding Eastern Division, Assistant Commissioner of Police Elodio Aragon said Monday, December 10.
“At this point in time I can tell you that we have 133 murders countrywide compared to last year, when we had at the end of December 124,” said Aragon, speaking at the weekly police media briefing.
He added that in Belize City there were 71 murders last year, but so far 2012 has seen 72 Belize City murders.
Aragon went on to outline the Police Department’s efforts to keep the streets safe during the Christmas holidays.
“We understand the fact that people out there, especially the criminals, are looking at ways to commit crime to make money. I want to assure the general public that this Christmas we are working very diligently and vigilantly to ensure that they have a safe and secure Christmas. I am confident that that will be the case.”
There are stepped up patrols in the streets. Aragon said, “The order is calling for more of our officers. We are talking about our staff personnel – all our officers who are working staff to come out and do additional duties in the evening in the hours that we have identified where we need to be and have a presence on the streets.
“We have an ….program taking place where police officers are willing to contribute additional hours for extra pay.”
Aragon said that the police are giving priority to the shopping areas in Belize City.
“I can tell you that our presence out there has increased and if anybody walks out there especially in these priority areas that we have designated, they would see police officers out there. Some of these areas are Albert and Orange Street, all the shopping areas.”
The Police Department is responsible for crime, Aragon stressed, but the public can assist. He urged the public to work along with the police and assist them in the fight against crime.
“It is for the general public to pick up the phone and call 911 in regard to suspicious characters or any suspicious things that they see out there while they are going about their daily business,” Aragon urged..
The police will be enforcing the laws against public drinking during the holiday season, he said.

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