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article imagePuerto Rican police urged to get tougher on crime and reporting

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By Kev Hedges     Oct 6, 2011 in Crime
The Justice Department in San Juan, Puerto Rico, mulls over police logs and espies an entry for breaking and entering. In reality, a plasma television and large amounts of expensive jewellery were burgled.
In another entry of property damage finds that behind this mere damage is in fact a large-scale theft of telephone company cables. In fact after months of investigations into by the internal affairs agency for the Puerto Rico Police Department recorded misdemeanors found that many crimes were being wrongly categorised.
Figures showed that while the murder rate was higher than ever (a difficult statistic to manipulate) most felonies had declined.
Officer Norman Torrens, an internal affairs agent for the police department presented his findings to his supervisor and when nothing was done he passed the figures on to the Justice Department. His reward for whistle blowing was instant demotion. Torrens told the New York Times:
They are lying to the people of Puerto Rico by telling them that crime statistics are going down. The bosses are the ones who push this to happen. The culture here is if you don’t produce, you get nowhere.
Manipulating these figures is something ordinary Puerto Ricans have long been aware of. The report into police failings in Puerto Rico found:
Far too many P.R.P.D. officers have broken their oath to uphold the rule of law, as they have been responsible for acts of crime and corruption and have routinely violated the constitutional rights of the residents of Puerto Rico.
The report is likely to worry the four million American citizens who live on Puerto Rico, many live in affluent areas on the island but they have seen an increase in violent crime spill into some of the more well-to-do areas. So far this year there have been 786 murders, at this point last year there were 661. The bleak figures are issued as mainland USA shows a decline in violent crime.
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