Certainly one of Puerto Rico’s deadliest months in recent times has closed, with 78 killings reported in January because the U.S. territory struggles with a surge in violent crime and rising discontent amongst hundreds of cops.
The killings included a 20-year-old girl discovered kneeling and burned to loss of life inside a automobile within the upscale metropolis of Guaynabo and a triple murder reported within the japanese mountain city of San Lorenzo.
Puerto Rico’s murder fee is roughly 20 killings per 100,000 residents, in contrast with three.7 per 100,000 residents on the U.S. mainland.
“I am gravely involved about these violent incidents reported in latest days,” mentioned Sen. Miguel Laureano. “It is a dramatic scenario that requires quick consideration.”
Nearly all of folks killed final month had been younger males shot to loss of life. The central mountain city of Caguas reported the best variety of homicides at 18, adopted by the capital of San Juan with 14.
Police have issued warrants or arrested suspects in solely a handful of the instances. On Thursday, authorities requested the general public for assist in fixing the case of the younger girl discovered burned contained in the automobile. Police mentioned they consider she was on her option to choose up a member of the family the day she was killed.
Hector Pesquera, head of Puerto Rico’s newly created Division of Public Security, has mentioned a lot of the killings in January had been tied to medicine however added that there was “no rhyme or cause” to clarify the surge.
In mid-January, native and federal officers introduced they might implement a “damaged home windows” policing marketing campaign to assist scale back the variety of killings. The plan is to crack down on all kinds of violations, together with visitors infractions and unlawful tints on automobile home windows, to assist get criminals off the road and stop greater crimes.
The rise in killings got here weeks after hundreds of cops started calling in sick day by day to protest thousands and thousands of owed in time beyond regulation pay following Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Absences have returned to the traditional day by day common, Pesquera says, however hundreds of cops are nonetheless upset about austerity measures, together with a pointy discount of their month-to-month pensions and an finish to having the ability to money in unused sick days.
Puerto Rico Rep. Felix Lassalle, president of the fee of public safety, is holding public hearings to handle these points.
“There is a huge dedication … to handle conditions that may have an effect on cops and discover options,” he mentioned.