Saturday, July 11th, 2015. Aaron Humes Reporting: Regional Commander for Eastern Division (South), Senior Superintendent Chester Williams, reports that he is working along with the mothers and relatives of several known gang members of the Ghosttown Crips based on Mayflower Street, who out of fear of further reprisals, have approached the police department to organize a truce.
This week, with the assistance of their family members, Police were able to detain 20 young men from the Mayflower area including minors. Williams notes that several of these persons are related and live in a congested area. The unique situation has led to a change in police patrol strategy – ‘boxing out’ persons living on the Banak Street area from those living closer to Vernon Street.
The alleged gunman in the incident that took place on Thursday, Williams believes, was neutralized as a result of the police strategy. Two counselors will be dialoguing with selected persons involved to broker the beginnings of a truce, and follow-up is expected.
Several Gang Truces have been brokered over the years in an effort to stave off the violence plaguing the Southside streets of Belize City especially. The recent flare up of gang rivalry in the Mayflower Area was not, it appears, Ghosttown versus other gangs but rather members of the same gang fighting amongst each other.
There have been numerous shooting incidents in that small block from Mayflower Street to Magazine Road, which the installation of a checkpoint close to the gang base as well as a police booth near Mayflower and the presence of the Police bus inside Mayflower Street has been unable to prevent. This year alone we have counted over a dozen incidents involving guns, in the area – fatal, non-fatal and close calls.
With Mayflower getting a lot of attention from the Police Department, there is a concern that they might neglect other hotspots in the city. He spoke about plans for the area and a particular strategy to decrease shooting incidents.
He said they reorganized their patrolling strategy understanding that they cannot afford to lose focus on other areas, such as the West Lake Independence/LaCroix Boulevard area.
It is a matter of stretching human resources to cover all the ‘hotspots’ – using motorcycle and bicycle patrols on a regular and extended basis.
Further division of the sectors of the City will involve expanded patrols with static vehicles in addition to the standing patrols while also being able to respond quickly to major incidents – Williams targets no less than five minutes.
We will be following up to get an update on the Mayflower Truce.
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