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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Effective response sought as carjackings reach 77 on the year

Sen. Keren Riquelme Cabrera

By The Star Staff

Some 77 carjackings had been committed in Puerto Rico this year as of the start of the day on Wednesday, island Police Bureau officials told Sen. Keren Riquelme Cabrera during an extensive morning meeting aimed at establishing strategies to prevent such crimes.

“These 77 carjackings are 23 more than the same period last year and show that criminal elements are moving to steal motor vehicles, which, according to the police, is one of the main reasons for this,” Riquelme said. “The areas of San Juan and Bayamón are the most active in this type of crime. This situation is one that we have to address with prevention and greater citizen orientation. The officers of the Police Bureau have already established an interaction program focused on prevention.”

The at-large senator held a meeting at the Capitol with Lt. Col. Roberto Rivera and Capt. Richard Haddock.

“At the meeting, we were informed that the main vehicles [targeted] for carjackings are the Toyota, including the Corollas, Tacoma and the Yaris,” Riquelme said. “Many of these carjackings are by order, which means that criminals ask other criminals to steal these vehicles for use, either to remove and sell their parts in the illegal market or another use. Citizens have to be aware because the most common hours for this type of crime are between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m.”

At the meeting, it also came to light that most of the carjackings occur in areas near gas stations, as well as at small businesses located on high-traffic avenues, as well as in urban areas.

“Among the actions we are looking at, some of which the police are implementing, is increased preventive patrolling in the most prone areas,” the New Progressive Party senator said. “That, together with an orientation campaign, because citizens have to always be aware of their surroundings, which will be focused on that, the awareness, as well as tips from citizens through the line 787-343-2020 and promotion of preventive actions, are the key to stopping this wave.”

Riquelme said she will be holding similar meetings in the communities most affected by the rise in carjackings in order to identify new mechanisms to prevent them.

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