HomeNewsBriefPuerto Rico Opposition Calls For Emergency Measures Against Crime
BRIEF

Puerto Rico Opposition Calls For Emergency Measures Against Crime

CARIBBEAN / 19 JUL 2012 BY CHRISTOPHER LOOFT EN

A leading opposition politician in Puerto Rico has called for the imposition of a state of emergency, citing rising crime that has killed almost 500 so far this year as the territory becomes a increasingly important asset for drug traffickers.

The leader of the Popular Democratic Party (PPD), Alejandro Garcia Padilla, has called upon Puerto Rico's governor to impose a state of emergency to confront rising drug crime. As El Nuevo Dia reported, Padilla's suggestion would put certain government agencies on 24-hour shifts, as if the country were dealing with a natural disaster or public health emergency.

According to Padilla, who is also a candidate in the 2012 gubernatorial election, of the 1,136 homicides recorded last year, three quarters took place on the streets, and 90 percent were shootings. He noted that of 1,000 security cameras installed on a major highway more than a month ago, none had been connected.

EFE reported that 491 people had been killed in the territory so far this year.

Insight Crime Analysis

Some of Padilla's criticism of Governor Luis Fortuño is no doubt political -- the two are rivals in an upcoming election -- but his is not the only one raising the alarm about the security situation in the US territory. Republican Michael McCaul, the chair of a recent congressional subcommittee hearing, recently expressed serious concerns about Puerto Rico's rising crime (see pdf). Last year, according to McCaul, its murder rate was around 30 per 100,000, significantly higher than any US state, and at least half of it from drug-related. The total of 1,136 homicides is the highest in the territory's history, as Fortuño noted in Congress testimony (see pdf).

Puerto Rico's rising homicide rate is partially the result of its desirable qualities for drug traffickers. For one, since it is a US territory, contraband can easily make it through Puerto Rico into the rest of the country, avoiding customs inspection, as both McCaul and Fortuño pointed out . This, along with rampant corruption, helps make the territory a key transshipment point for drugs from Colombia and Venezuela.

Illustrating the scale of the problem, US authorities recently busted more than 30 people at San Juan airport for their involvement in a massive drug trafficking scheme.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

CARIBBEAN / 9 JUL 2021

Two days on from the nighttime assassination of Haiti President Jovenel Moïse in Port-au-Prince, competing theories have failed to provide…

ARGENTINA / 10 SEP 2021

Violence is rocking Argentina’s port city of Rosario just as the leaders of its biggest gang, the Monos, are on…

BRAZIL / 9 AUG 2021

A shadowy vigilante death squad operating on the Brazil-Paraguay border is killing supposed thieves and then leaving notes next to…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…