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Guam business sector joins fight against mounting crimes on island




By Pacific Island Times News Staff


With rising crimes that comprise Guam's economic environment, fence-sitting is no longer an option for the business sector.


Noting the limitation of government resources, the Guam Chamber of Commerce has taken the initiative to engage in crime-fighting by

collaborating with community groups and the Mayor's Council of Guam.


"Though neighborhood crime prevention may seem outside our usual strategic initiatives," Chamber board chair Ernie Galito said, "it's crucial for a sustainable and thriving community."


At the chamber meeting on Wednesday, Galito recounted a violent incident at a family-owned Tumon grocery, where three masked assailants barged in, demanded money and fired at Maria, a store attendant who stood her ground and luckily survived the gunshot.


"The aftermath sent shockwaves through the community, leaving behind anguish and sorrow," Galito said. 


The store is owned by the Cruz family, who "were left reeling from the senseless violence."

According to the Guam Police Department, the number of violent crimes on island went from 369 in 2017 to 664 in 2021.


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"Proactive engagement and education are crucial in addressing these 

issues effectively," Galito said.

 

To this end, the Chamber proposed several initiatives.

 

"We will actively explore how we can best leverage our membership to participate in and support the Neighborhood Watch Program, providing

 resources, expertise, and training materials to strengthen community

 vigilance and deter criminal activity," Galito said.

 

The list also includes workshops tailored to small business owners,

focusing on strategies to mitigate the risk of robbery. "Topics will include enhancing security measures, recognizing warning signs, and implementing effective response protocols," Galito said.

 

The chamber also plans to host training sessions for business owners and employees "on responding calmly and effectively during armed robbery incidents and prioritizing personal safety."

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For bars, taverns and nightclubs, Galito said the chamber will offer specialized training that would cover fire safety, handling cash, theft prevention, de-escalation techniques and employee policies regarding law enforcement.


"Additionally, we recognize the potential of technology in crime prevention,

such as GVB’s ambition to implement 24-hour video camera systems along San Vitores Road," Galito said.


Last month, GVB formed the Visitors Security Officer Corps comprising five visitor security officers and two Department of Military Affairs security officers, who completed 40 hours of defensive tactics training.


“The Visitors Security Officer Corps was initially hatched out of GovGuam’s ‘Crimes Against Tourists in Tumon’  program in 2014,” according to a press release from GVB. “ The corps has developed rapidly from ‘Hafa Adai Spirit ambassadors’ to fully trained security officers.”





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