A little over a month ago the Police Department announced its plans to zone the city off into four precincts roughly covering the northwest, northeast, southwest and southeast sections. Each precinct would be somewhat self-contained, with its own commanders, police stations and branches of the national Police Department from CIB to community policing.
Today, the press including PLUS News was invited to Precinct One’s headquarters on Amara Avenue opposite St. John’s Primary School for an update. Superintendent Alden Dawson, former officer commanding CIB and now precinct commander for Precinct One, says that since February 27 when he formally assumed command, there has been a significant reduction in instances of crime in his precinct. Precinct One spans from the downtown area west to Central American Boulevard, north to the Haulover Creek and south to the sea including Birds’ Isle and is home to many competing gang territories. It has also been the site of multiple attacks including the massacre on Dean Street that greeted Commissioner Allen Whylie as he took office. Yet according to Superintendent Dawson, the community have been his biggest supporters, primarily because police have decreased their response time to major incidents and have actively reached out to the community, now covering areas that had no manpower previously. 100 new recruits were baptized in the fire of the Old Capital after passing out earlier this year, and so far they have been passing muster. In the future, Superintendent Dawson told PLUS News, the Department will be expanding its presence in TWO key areas: the Michael Finnegan Market, Bus Terminal on West Collet Canal leading to the Pound Yard Bridge, AND further up in the Conch Shell Bay area. Some 80 recruits from the area were observed practicing drills for the Youth Cadet Corps this afternoon on the St. John’s basketball court, and the Superintendent says more are coming to be enrolled every day. But that is the kind of headache the Police can live with. PLUS News will be taking an extended look at the work of the Police precincts in Belize City beginning next week.