The first two months of 2015 show crime on the rise
Saturday, February 28th, 2015
Crime seems to be one of the main issues plaguing San Pedro, as the San Pedro Police Department have reported escalating criminal activities. 57 days into 2015, the island has seen four murders, various shootings, countless burglaries, robberies and theft. During a monthly People’s Coalition of San Pedro meeting, on Thursday, February 19th Officer in Charge of the San Pedro Police, Superintendent Luis Castellanos presented the Crime Comparison Report for January 2015, which indicated a 65% increase in crime when comparing December 2014 to January 2015.
For the month of January alone, police reported one murder (22-year-old Silvia Carmen Benitez), two robberies, seven burglaries, 16 thefts and one incident involving unlawful sexual intercourse. According to Castellanos, the increase in robberies, burglaries and theft can be accounted to the increase of population the island sees during the high season of the tourism industry. “We see more people coming to the island. Like I have always mentioned, the robberies, burglaries and theft raise in crime statistics are issues that can be prevented. People need to start being more careful and stop behaving as if there are no criminals out there. Currently the San Pedro Police Department has 44 officers and we need to ensure that all the island is patrolled. We have limited resources, and as such we need the public’s help to reduce crime. Be mindful of your surroundings and secure your belongings so as to avoid these crimes,” said Castellanos.
While an official report has not been given out on the incidents that occurred in February 2015, the month has seen its fair share of crime, including three murders and several shootings. The increased gun violence in the San Pedrito Area has seen three residents being wounded during shootings, and one child murdered. All three shootings registered for the month of February occurred in the same area and left 32-year-old Kareem Eagan shot in the leg on Monday, February 9th, 13-year-old minor, Meredith Escalante shot in the chest on Wednesday, February 11th and 33-year old Aleyda Sandoval Espat who was shot in the back on Tuesday, February 24th. Her two-year-old son, Daniel Espat was shot and killed in the same incident. Residents in the area have expressed extreme concern about their safety and are pleading for something to be done to curb the criminal activity. February also saw a double murder on Northern Ambergris Caye on Wednesday, February 18th when police found two bodies in a shallow grave (Benjamin Molina and Selvino Chi).
“We are doing the best we can. We need more police officers in order to increase patrols. The population on the island is increasing and as such we need more forces to supervise the island. In addition, we lack vehicular resources. It is difficult for police officers to respond to reports when our vehicles are not working. We need to unite as a community to combat crime,” said Castellanos.
To assist with the escalating crime, forces from the Gang Suppression Unit (GSU) has been deployed to San Pedro.
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