How to Reverse Puerto Rico's Crime Rate

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SOS-292, TESC

Abstract
This paper will explore how Puerto Rico can reverse and reduce their current murder rate. I have developed several recommendations to help the Puerto Rican authority’s achieve this goal. I base my recommendations on research conducted from books like the CIA world Fact Book, Preventing crime: what works for children, offenders, victims, and places, along with other websites, and my own personal experience as a military police officer.

A man lies dead in the streets, blood trickling from his head, he lays motionless as a crowd begins to gather to see what happened. Around the corner on another city street the police are responding to more gunshots, only to arrive on scene to find another person lying dead in the streets. The picture I just painted isn't a warzone, or some big city in the United States ¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬but the streets of Puerto Rico. Imagine for a minute you live in a city where the crime rate is out of control, particularly murder. Not a day goes by where someone isn't murdered. In 2011 Puerto Rico had 1,130 murders for the year ("Puerto Rico murder).

I have served in the capacity of a Military Police officer in the United States Air Force with over twenty-one years of active duty service. During this time I served as patrolman, Desk Sergeant, flight chief, and the Non Commissioned Officer in charge of Police Services where I was instrumental in the implementation of our community policing program while stationed at Misawa Air Base, Japan. If I was able to give my input to the authority’s in Puerto Rico to figure out what are the causes for the high murder rate was, I would suggest to them to modernize their police force, buy new and operational equipment, hire new police officers, and train the existing force on the new technology, while implementing a community policing philosophy. I am confident if they took this approach to the problem it could help them reduce the murder rate.

Puerto Rico is roughly three times the size of Rhode Island, with a population of 3,958,128 (July 2008 est. (World Fact Book, 2009), compared with the American city of Los Angeles who has a population of 3,694,820 ("The most populated," 2000) and had a 291 homicides in 2010 (Los Angeles Times). Why does this island nation have such a high murder rate? Part of the reason is drug trafficking, gangs and carjacking’s has plagued Puerto Rico causing the crime rate and the murder rate to skyrocket. According to a New York Times article police in Puerto Rico insist that half of all homicides on the island, which is a popular transfer island for narcotics, shipped from South America to the United States — are connected to drug-trafficking turf wars. Of the other half, 18 so far this year were related to domestic violence and 18 involved people who were gay or transgender. In an article on Bloomberg.com the spike in murders wad partly due to the arrest of two of the main drug lords on the island in 2009, more than half of the 1,117 homicides in 2011 can be attributed to this bloody turf war. So far the steps taking to curb the murder rate have failed. Gov. Luis Fortuño tried to deploy the National Guard to attempt to reduce the killings; this is the same tactic they used in the early 1990s. But the extra patrols proved ineffective (NY Times). In a study by Ricardo Godoy conducted during 1980 thru 2005, the mean annual rate of homicide in Puerto Rico always surpassed the mean annual rate of homicide in the United States. During 1980-2005, the mainland had an average annual homicide rate of 8 victims/100,000 residents, whereas Puerto Rico had an annual homicide rate of 19 victims/100,000 residents. During 1980-2005, homicide on the mainland declined by an average of 2.36%/year, whereas homicide in Puerto Rico increased by an average of 1.32%/year. During 1990-2005, homicide on the mainland declined by 4.64%/year; in Puerto Rico the improvement was...
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