Posted: Saturday, May 23, 2020. 10:13 am CST.
The views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Breaking Belize News.
By Ingrid Ferlo: In an interview with The Grey Spaces Podcast on the changes expected in society and communities due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, Commissioner of Police Chester Williams stated that an increase in crime is expected and that extending the State of Emergency (SOE) until the end of 2020 would help combat crime. He states:
“I would wish to see the SOE in place for the rest of the year because at least for until now to then we will be affected by the effects of Covid-19.  I think that with the SOE in place and the curfew in place it does help us to be able to ensure that we don’t only monitor the border activities but also monitor what is happening internally, within the country and keep everything at a lower pace” adding that so far the SOE has had a significant impact in controlling crime.
The ComPol said that due to the imminent economic fallout from the global impact the Pandemic has had, many will resort to crime to provide for their families.
“The fact that there are more and more persons who will be left unemployed that will surely have an economic impact and that will surely translate to criminals trying to take advantage and looking for opportunities to commit crime. Many people have families to feed and they are now out of work and so they will try to do whatever they need to do to find that income to be able to take care of their families.”
The Commissioner also acknowledges that others will try to find legitimate ways to generate income.
Williams said the Department is expecting to see an increase in property crimes such as robberies, burglaries, theft, and obtaining property by deception. Examples of this are recent home invasions that occurred during curfew hours and during the State of Emergency. The Amandala newspaper reported on May 13, that at around 12:30 in the morning, on the previous Monday, two men entered the home of 61-year-old Michael Avilez on Marage Road, Ladyville Village and physically attacked him before escaping way with $110.00. Similarly on May 20, Ashliegh Lance and her roommate, a teacher, were robbed at gunpoint inside their home in Punta Gorda, Toledo. Plus TV reported that, the robber attacked one of the victims by beating her on the face with a gun and locked both women in a room before escaping with more than $3000.00 in electronics and jewelry.
To mitigate the expected increase in crime the ComPol shared that the Belize Police Department has identified key police interventions that will be essential.
“We have to look at, for example, ensuring that we have patrols in the commercial or business areas and in the night time we ensure that we look at those vulnerable communities where persons may want to go and commit home invasions and even in the day time we have to look at these deliveries, those trucks that go from district to district doing deliveries and collecting money.”
Williams says that it is important to have officers on the ground to monitor persons believed to be planning criminal activities.
For a comprehensive discussion on the impact of Covid-19 on Belize’s economy and society, listen to The Grey Spaces’ second episode “Belize’s Economy and Covid-19 Pandemic” at https://bit.ly/2A0ksg0.
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