PDP gubernatorial hopeful Delgado Altieri presents his ‘coherent’ islandwide security plan
By Pedro Correa Henry
Special to The Star
Popular Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial hopeful Carlos “Charlie” Delgado Altieri announced Thursday his islandwide security plan proposal as he wants to wage a fight against crime, strengthen diverse social sectors, and reinforce the power of families, communities and their surroundings to improve Puerto Rico’s social development.
As a proposal to hold criminals accountable for their deeds against common citizens, Delgado Altieri said the government has to develop and put into effect a “coherent” islandwide security plan that reflects Puerto Rico’s actual reality. Likewise, he said one of his priorities as governor would be to update the public education system, as it serves children who belong in households that are under moderate to extreme poverty.
“According to a study from the Youth Institute, 58 percent of children in Puerto Rico live under some level of poverty, while 37 percent live in extreme poverty. These percentages are concerning as 50 percent of crimes in Puerto Rico are mostly influenced by child poverty,” Delgado Altieri said. “The education system, from the elementary to higher-education level, must update their curriculums into more attractive alternatives and be available to aid students who belong to this sector. Education is one of the keys to minimizing felonies in modern society and improving social mobility.”
The Isabela mayor said that in order to achieve the aforementioned goal, he has proposed a long list of objectives that generally involve investing in technological advancement, improving in-house forensic programs to solve homicides, as only 23 percent of homicides in Puerto Rico have been cleared up according to a 2018 study, and developing strategies to involve communities in problem-solving initiatives.
Meanwhile, he also proposed employment programs for youth from poor communities and improved employment programs and services in the island’s correctional system as members of both these populations have a tendency to be involved in and relapse into criminal activities, respectively.
“We must develop effective strategies to minimize criminal activity and relapses significantly. I insist that the Department of Education, the Recreation and Sports Department, municipalities and community-based organizations must be included in this strategy as they have a direct impact on both young people and adults and can develop projects that can help them,” Delgado Altieri said. “We also want inmates to be more involved once they incorporate back to the general community; once they pay their dues, they do not deserve to be branded by their past. We have to educate, certify their efforts, and make their transition easy enough to [enable them to] contribute to our country.”
‘It’s vital for police officers to be up to date’
The Star asked the PDP gubernatorial primary candidate about how his security plan will support the trans community, as the recent slayings of five trans people remain unsolved by the police, and one of those, the brutal Feb. 24 killing of Alexa Negrón Luciano, was not classified as femicide in the Puerto Rico Police Bureau’s (NPPR by its Spanish initials) database. Delgado Altiero said it is vital for police to train themselves and handle felonies against the LGBTQIAP+ community fairly. He also said the island education system must educate students on how to respect this community.
“I believe that the Police [Bureau] must make efforts through federal initiatives [designed] to ensure each community’s welfare. It is vital for the police to be up to date,” Delgado Altieri said. “If they don’t educate themselves or get any training on how to attend to matters [associated with] the community, there will be mishandlings of these cases. There must be insistence on not only studying [but also] practicing how to investigate crimes against the LGBTT community.”
The Star also asked Delgado Altieri how his government would make sure the NPPR was in compliance with federal police reform, as it has been a year since the protests that forced former Gov. Ricardo Rosselló out of office and various organizations called out police brutality against citizens and other violations during 12 days of demonstrations last summer. He said that it must be investigated because it seems to him that the island government has abandoned efforts to bring Puerto Rico’s police force into compliance with the provisions of the reform law.
“I don’t have knowledge that it is due to public policy, but the government has not implemented any advancements to follow the [federal] reform,” Delgado Altieri said. “It is essential that the police become aligned with the new social realities.”