Posted: Saturday, February 6, 2021. 11:05 am CST.
By Aaron Humes: In more measured terms than his colleagues, Minister of Home Affairs Kareem Musa provided the broad outline of a new National Crime Fighting Strategy to be presented in the coming weeks.
Responding to Moses “Shyne” Barrow’s official question, Musa explained that two factors in such a strategy are the truth that criminal delinquency and socio-economic turbulence will mark the “third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic,” and that crime reduction involves “a collective romancing of the Belizean people” and is not Ministry-specific.
“The twin forces of reform and innovation will brand every decision ahead. Everything is respected, but everything is equally in question,” Musa said, adding that change will cause “discomfort” for some, but it is very necessary, headlined by the youngest trio of Minister, CEO (Kevin Arthurs) and Commissioner of Police (Chester Williams) in history. He called for our generation to “lose the fear” and dive into the brave new world of technological crime-fighting, even while expecting to be criticized for aiming too high.
In the next two weeks, said Musa, the strategy to be presented “…is new, bold, modern and fully uploaded to the new technological world. The game changer is in the modernization and humanization of the change tools. This will make a big difference as we are excited to design the launch of our innovation and technology platforms. We look forward to boosting our forensic capacity, our video surveillance coverage, including body cams for officers, ankle monitors, face recognition cameras, as well as our domestic violence strategies which as of recent saw the opening of a child-friendly space in San Ignacio at the police station.”
And Musa said it is ‘all hands on deck,’ criticism of past efforts notwithstanding. “We have the confidence to know that we cannot win the fight without the people; their loss is our loss; their win is our win. We commit to doing our part and being as bold as we are humane, and insistent on seeing the human element in crime reduction. It will take all of us, and all we’ve got, to put a dent in this.”
Musa commended the dip in murders in 2020 and the officers responsible for it; but noted that there is much more behind the “cold” statistics; it is now an issue of public health and personal to us all, from health to education, religion to social services.
Other plans are to formally establish a register of sex offenders and deportees; a witness protection program and the use of the Belize Crime Observatory (BCO) and geographic information systems (GIS) to “work as smart as work hard; we intend to get the job done with less force and more brain – intelligence-led investigation with the aim to fully charge the prevention aspect of crime-fighting.”
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