• The San Juan Daily Star

Amid spike in slayings, police can't ‘divine’ where they’ll happen, top cop says

Police Commissioner Antonio López Figueroa

By John McPhaul

Police Commissioner Antonio López Figueroa said Monday that his police officers “are not fortune tellers” with the ability to predict when one person is going to kill another.

“For the 20,000 policemen that I have, it is impossible that there can be a policeman for every situation, because we can’t predict the future,” the island’s top cop said in response to questions from the press. “We are working. We have work plans in the Auxiliary Super-intendency and the special units, doing the appropriate work. Is it that this is long term or medium term? Yes. You are not going to see the results now; you are going to see them next year.”

Thirteen homicides were recorded over the past weekend, seven of which occurred in the early hours of Sunday, as reported by the Puerto Rico Police Bureau.

“All plans have been modified,” López Figueroa said. “We had preventive patrols over the weekend. We have the necessary patrols and we have the investigations running. And the plans are aimed at this, to counteract the mur-ders, to arrest the people who are responsible for them. And we ask citizens for cooperation.”

The commissioner said the recent crimes are being committed by organizations that charge for murders. Sometimes there is coop-eration on the part of a member of the criminal organization of the person to be killed, to locate the target.

“The best example is the video that is being seen [of the double murder] in Guayama,” the police commissioner said. “That person had just left the court, because his case was suspended. … One of his partners sold him out to kill him on that highway.”

Also, what is classified as stalking occurs. “These crimes are the consequence of crime not paying and I’m going to tell you why,” López Figueroa said. “Individuals who are involved in drug trafficking have to be careful every day that their enemies or even friends who might want to take their position don’t kill them.”

“They take advantage of these days to show camaraderie and become vulnerable and have people who in the underworld are called ‘setiators’ [stool pigeons], who are people who locate them. That is why these deaths occur at the most vulnerable moment, so that these [targeted] people cannot respond to the attack.”

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