Police crack down on loitering and public drinking

By Alexis R. Milan
Staff Reporter

The Belize Police Department’s Eastern Division (South) announced that starting this week, despite a recent shift in policy from cracking down on quality-of-life offenses, such as riding a bicycle without bells and lights, police will crack down on loitering and public drinking.

According to Police Press Coordinator Douglas Hyde, Eastern Division South Commander, Senior Superintendent Chester Williams gave the directive to senior officers, specifically in Precincts One and Two, that laws regarding loitering and public drinking are to be enforced.

Hyde said Williams made the decision shortly after assuming his new post because he noticed that over the last six months or so, a good deal of shootings and other crimes have been targeted at people who have loitered or were drinking in public at the time of the incident.

The move is an effort to discourage people from participating in the two activities in the hopes that fewer bodies on the street at odd hours of the night will result in less crime.
According to Hyde, officers have the discretion to let go persons caught committing either offense, with a warning, but also have the right to charge anyone found loitering or drinking in public.

The Belize Police Department is asking for public cooperation, after seeing the risk it places on those participating in the activities. Furthermore, Hyde said both activities are often a nuisance to residents, as those drinking in public often play loud music and break bottles.

Williams proposed a ticketing system for quality-of-life offenses when he took over his new post several weeks ago, but nothing has been finalized yet, Hyde said.
The idea behind the ticketing system, Williams explained at the time, is so that officers could spend more time focusing on more serious offenses, than having to spend almost two hours processing a person for an infraction as simple as riding a bicycle without a bell.

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