On Saturday May 17th Retired Police Superintendent and former Officer in Charge of San Pedro Town Rudolph Orio was on the island for a special meeting. Held in collaboration with the San Pedro Police Department, the meeting addressed the issues and possible solutions to the rising crime and violence on Ambergris Caye.
The meeting, held at Fido’s Courtyard, was a part of the national tour for the Citizens on Patrol (COP) program, an initiative geared towards the decrease and control of crime through volunteer community policing. Among COP representatives present were a few members of the community along with representatives of Footprints for Peace, an anti-crime group in San Pedro Town.
Mr. Orio highlighted the fact that combating crime should be a community effort, not just a matter to be left to the police. In addition to strong laws and enforcement, the residents and the business community must work along with the police to succeed in deterring crime. Thus, the COP program seeks to create such a partnership whereby the police and the community work together, assessing the needs of an area and together work on appropriate plans and solutions.
The success of any project requires the commitment of all involved. For San Pedro, this means that the community must rise to the occasion. Persons interested in becoming a volunteer COP must be 18 years or older. To ensure the competence of members, volunteers will undergo a six-month training program to equip them with skills necessary to confidently and effectively perform the duties of a COP.