By Benjamin Flowers: In December 2021, the Krooman Lagoon community in Belize City was the site of one of the most brutal chopping incidents that year. The spike in violent crime led the Belize Police Department to establish a permanent presence in the area to keep the peace.
Since his return to Belize City, Assistant Commissioner of Police Howell Gillett has been holding community outreach activities to effect positive changes in the lives of at-risk youths in communities all over the city and this week, Gillett arrived in the Krooman Lagoon community with football equipment for the youths.
Gillett distributed uniforms, football cones, and other equipment to the Under 15 football team in the community.
“It is our intention to keep young people, especially in Belize City and the Belize district active and give them hope of a brighter future,” Gillett said, following the donation. “The kids in that area don’t have an outlet as it relates to sports due to the layout and space. They, however, have made a make-shift football field. We want to encourage the young people to remain positive and have hope despite their environment.”
He noted that Krooman Lagoon is one of many areas which will benefit from such a donation, which was made possible through support from the business community.
With respect to law enforcement in the area, which is home to known affiliates of the Central American gang Mara Salvatrucha (MS13), Gillett said that police continue to maintain a constant presence in the area and conduct frequent, targeted operations there. Police have also set up a community chat group for the residents, so they have access to police assistance at all times.
He went on to say that the department will continue to build on its relationship with the community to effect positive change there.