Puerto Rico News: Murder Rate Down; 2014 May Bring US Commonwealth Its Lowest Number of Homocides in 15 Years
In 2014 thus far, the number of murders in Puerto Rico has been reduced by 26 percent compared with numbers from within the same months last year, reports from the island's Superintendent revealed Thursday.
Puerto Rican Police Superintendent Jose Caldero, who was sworn in as police chief on April 29, said there has been 568 murders on the island this year. That's 200 fewer than the numbers in 2013.
If the trend continues, Puerto Rico will have its lowest number of homicides in almost 15 years.
Caldero credits the anti-crime plan of Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla for the number of reduced murders. Since the plan was put in effect, there has been an increase in crime-solving efforts and crime prevention. For the past six months, authorities have increased their ability to solve murders by 9 percent.
"The criminals have to know that we're going to arrest them," Caldero said.
Cooperation with federal authorities in Puerto Rico and public cooperation has also been a big help in reducing the number of murders.
Caldero said that the number of murders per 100,000 residents on the island currently stands at 15.
According to 2012 data provided by the World Bank, there were 27 murders per 100,000 that year. The World Bank ranked Puerto Rico the No. 14 murder location worldwide two years ago.
Murder rates are high in the Caribbean region in general. According to Fox News Latino, Honduras has 90 murders per 100,000 inhabitants, Venezuela 54, Belize 45, El Salvador 41, Guatemala 40, Jamaica 39, St. Kitts & Nevis 34, Colombia 31, Bahamas 30 and Trinidad & Tobago 28. Meanwhile, the Dominican Republic and Mexico have 22 homicides per 100,000 people.
"Despite the reduction we've achieved, my aim is for there not to be a single murder in Puerto Rico," Caldero said.
Other crime rates have dropped in the U.S. commonwealth, as well. Robbery is down by 12.6 percent, aggravated assaults by 83 percent and auto thefts by 16.7 percent.