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  • The San Juan Daily Star

Officials provide updates on island security plan


By John McPhaul

jpmcphaul@gmail.com

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia met Tuesday with the island’s security officials, who updated him on the main elements of the government’s Comprehensive Security Plan.


Guided by the identification, analysis, response and evaluation model (SARA by its Spanish acronym), a strategy implemented by the Puerto Rico Police Bureau (PRPB) seeks to identify the particular problems that affect each community and seeks sustainable solutions that prevent and address the origins of crime in each area.


“The two pillars of the Comprehensive Security Plan that we have implemented since the beginning of our administration are guided by the SARA model, which allows early identification of the root of a problem in a particular community and provides the solution to prevent crime or address its origins,” the governor said at a press conference. “The fight against crime is a joint effort of all sectors. With this strategy we seek to give tools to the communities themselves so that they can join the security plan.”


Pierluisi said the results obtained with the Comprehensive Security Plan include: 1,210 weapons seized, 92,833 units of ammunition seized, 1,088 vehicles seized, 17,964.2 kilos of cocaine seized, 4,855 arrests made, 314 identified gunmen who were arrested, 92 most wanted individuals arrested, in 900 arrests in the 100X35 Plan.


There are currently 9,768 fewer Type I crimes compared to 2019. It should be noted that in 2020 there were curfews and lockdowns. Type 1 crimes, which include murders, robberies, burglaries, aggravated assaults and car theft, among others, directly impact citizens. In terms of murders compared to 2019, on this same date there were exactly the same number, 568.


The Comprehensive Security Plan has two components that frame its efforts: (1) law and order and (2) community interaction.


The SARA model is defined by its four phases: (1) the identification of the problems, (2) the analysis of the data and information collected, (3) the response in the development and implementation of strategies and (4) the effective evaluation of the results of the applied strategies.


The objective of this model is to proactively address the specific needs of each community, using the role of the community police as a facilitator to empower citizens.


The governor noted that not all communities have the same crime problems and that the incidental factors are not necessarily similar, which is why the police adopted the SARA model as a strategy of the Comprehensive Security Plan. For example, while in one community the lack of a functioning lighting system may represent a risk of crime development, in another it may be the abandonment of facilities that influence users of controlled substances to stay in the area.


Through programs led by the PRPB’s Community Relations division, the SARA model has already begun to be implemented in 12 municipalities such as Bayamón, Caguas, Carolina, Mayagüez, Ponce, San Juan, Fajardo, Humacao, Culebra, Vieques, Ponce and Gurabo.


Pierluisi also stressed that, in addition to the Comprehensive Security Plan and its components, his administration has more comprehensive strategies to attack crime at its roots. Here he highlighted the war against poverty, improvements to the educational system, access to childcare and extended hours, as well as the economic development that impacts all areas related to quality of life.


Public Safety (DSP) Secretary Alexis Torres said the DSP will continue efforts to strengthen relations between the PRPB and other entities that work with security on the island, and gave assurances that all the resources of the DSP, the Firefighters Bureau, the Bureau of Emergency Management and Disaster Administration, 911 and Medical Emergencies, will work in an integrated way with the police.


“We are all committed and we are going to support the Police especially during this festive season,” Torres said. “We have already demonstrated this on other occasions. Our emphasis is that citizens feel safe and be, as far as they can, collaborators with the security component in Puerto Rico.”


Police Commissioner Antonio López Figueroa, meanwhile, pointed out that the SARA model, supported and directed by the Police Reform Office, is an essential strategy of the Comprehensive Security Plan. Along with this model, he said the Plan includes a series of provisions and strategies that are key to solving more crimes.


Over 80 percent of homicides are linked to drug trafficking, López Figueroa noted. Therefore, under the law and order component, the PRPB’s operations were restructured in order to create two new divisions for operations against crime: the Auxiliary Superintendency of Special Operations and the Auxiliary Superintendency of Criminal Investigations.

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