SAN JUAN – This weekend murders in Puerto Rico topped 900 for the year, 134 more than at the same time last year.
The slaying on Saturday of a man in the Puerto Nuevo district of the capital was the 900th violent death so far in 2011, so that by the end of the year the number is expected to surpass the 983 murders in 2010.
Police confirmed Monday the death of a 19-year-old man who died after being shot several times in the Franklin D. Roosevelt housing project in the western city of Mayagüez, which made him the 901st victim this year.
While 2010 ended as the second most violent in recent history on the island after 1994 when 995 homicides were registered, it is highly probable that if the present trend continues more than 1,000 people will have been killed by the end of the year.
The chief of the Puerto Rican Police Department, Emilio Diaz, would only say after learning that the number of homicides had topped 900 that cops will continue to apply their crime-fighting strategies.
Crime on the Caribbean island took 10 lives this weekend, most of them related to battles between gangs for control of drug corners.
The growing crime rate, currently Puerto Rico’s No. 1 problem, forced the resignation of Jose Figueroa Sancha as chief of the PRPD in early July. EFE