Monday, January 25, 2010

Haiti cops prepare for calamity

PORT-AU-PRINCE - POLICE in the Haitian capital counted their loses and gathered their forces on Sunday, preparing for a surge in crime they are certain will follow the devastating Jan 12 earthquake.

Police leaders are still trying to determine how many officers can report for work and how many police stations are still operational.

Looting is widespread in this city struggling to recover from the powerful 7.0-magnitude earthquake, but police say they have yet to see a wider rise in violent crime.

This hiatus is likely to be short-lived: the quake shattered the walls of the city's main prison, granting freedom to some 4,000 convicted criminals.

Police have doubled night patrols in Cite Soleil, a squalid Port-au-Prince slum with a population of one million people located next to the airport. 'They came back here, we know, but they are hiding in the alleys,' said Chief Inspector Rosemond Aristide, referring to gang leaders. 'There is no way to trap them - right now,' said Inspector Aristide, the top official at the Cite Soleil police station.

Looting, an ongoing activity in downtown Port-au-Prince, picked up on Sunday as excavators removed large chunks of debris, exposing both rotting cadavers and valuables. -- AFP

No comments: