Crime in Puerto Rico has always been a problem. However within the last two decades, the United States territory has seen the highest crime rates ever recorded. Drug trafficking, severe unemployment, and other social issues on the island indicate there may be no end in sight to the increase in troubling crime statistics.
Police data shows there were 110 murders in Puerto Rico for the month of January this year, 34 more than during the same month in 2010. As of February 22, 2011, there were 179 homicides recorded, 40 more than in the same period last year.
Police statistics dating back to 1940 showed the highest number of murders on the island occurred in 1994, when 995 murders were reported. Since then murder rates have gone down, however in recent years the numbers have skyrocketed again.
On December 25, 2010 police data showed there had been 962 reported violent deaths, 72 more than in 2009, making 2010 the second worse year for homicides on the island since it starting keeping such records.
Crime overall has gotten worse in Puerto Rico and the tough economic times may also be a causing factor. In January of this year the unemployment rate of the U.S. commonwealth claimed up to 15.7 percent.
The combine issue of crime and economic hardship has most likely also caused a slight exodus from the island.
Puerto Rico’s population declined by 2.2 percent in the last decade, which makes the commonwealth one of only two U.S. jurisdictions that saw this trend.
Along with all the troubling statistics, some studies highlight the social affect of Puerto Rico’s problem with crime.
A study by the Josephson Institute of Ethics for the Puerto Rican government found that 28 percent of the island’s 10th-12th grade students took a firearm to school at least once during the past year.
Another report revealed that one in every four high school students had stayed away from school on at least one occasion because they did not feel safe.
For more information about crime in Puerto Rico you can read the full article at ElBoricua.com.