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September 13
11:31 2018

Deputy Commissioner of Police Chester Williams, today made an appeal to business owners to not succumb to pressure from extortionists who have been targeting businesses in Belize City.

Williams, who last week disclosed that one gang member confessed to him that he made a living off extorting businesses, said owners should rest assured they have Police support. He encouraged any business owner who may have been approached or extorted to get in contact with Police and report the crime.

According to Williams, the department is willing to organize sting operations to capture, arrest and charge extortionists targeting the commercial sector. The last few months have seen a slew of crimes committed against businesses and business owners across the country, including violent robberies and burglaries. Now, extortion seems to be a crime on the rise for active gangs and elements in the criminal underworld.

Criminal elements in Belize City became so brazen at one point earlier in the year that Police increased patrols in the commercial downtown area to secure businesses in the normally busy area. This, however, did not deter criminals who then shifted their focus to businesses in other areas with less Police presence.

Police have since increased patrols in certain areas and recently a State of Emergency was declared in the George and Banak Street areas. The move has received mixed reactions and has drawn criticism from certain sectors but Williams says the Police will continue in its efforts so as to stem the tide of crime and ensure safety for citizens and businesses alike.

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