• The San Juan Daily Star

Police task force formed in response to quadruple slaying in Cidra

After the Puerto Rico Police Bureau created a special task force to investigate a massacre in Cidra, Gov. Pedro Pierluisi noted that whether there is more or less crime on the island does not necessarily depend on how many police officers are out on the streets.

By The Star Staff

The Puerto Rico Police Bureau has created a special task force to investigate a massacre in Cidra, but Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia said Wednesday that the number of police officers is not necessarily a factor bearing on whether there is more or less crime in Puerto Rico.

“They start talking about the fact that historically there were 20,000 police officers in Puerto Rico. What’s more, when there were 20,000 police officers in Puerto Rico, for example, murders were significantly higher than what we have right now,” the governor said at a press conference. “Not necessarily does the number of police officers make a difference. We do want more police officers, but it is not like we are not going to be ready unless we have 20,000 police officers again.”

Pierluisi said it is his understanding that the Financial Oversight and Management Board will release additional funds for police.

He insisted that most homicides recorded recently on the island -- such as the quadruple slaying reported late Tuesday night in Cidra -- are related to gunmen hired by drug lords.

“There has just been a massacre, and they are all miserable,” the governor said. “But it so happens, which strikes me, that two of the people who died in that massacre are among the most wanted by the police. In other words, it is another incident clearly related to this drug trafficking that we are fighting.”

“The police strategy, in terms of stopping the murders, is the correct one to identify gunmen and remove them from circulation, because to a large extent the murders are being caused by those gunmen who are hired people,” he said. “To this end, the collaboration of the police with the federal authorities is excellent. So every time there is a murder I regret it tremendously, because we must protect the lives of our people. But the police are properly directed and organized to combat crime.”

Earlier in the day, Police Commissioner Antonio López Figueroa announced that he had activated a special task force to find the culprits behind the massacre that occurred outside the establishment La Lomita in Cidra, where four men were killed and two others were injured.

“We created the task force with the purpose of sharing the information and intelligence that we collect in the most dexterous and efficient way among the different units,” López Figueroa said. “We are certain that this case will be clarified.”

The police commissioner noted that homicide statistics so far this year show a trend of criminal incidents in the vicinity of or inside bars and commercial establishments where alcoholic beverages are sold and that operate at night or until dawn. That was the case with the multiple homicide perpetrated in Cidra’s Certenejas neighborhood at around 11:49 p.m.

The specialized team that was formed as a result of the incident is made up of experienced agents from the Homicide, Criminal Intelligence, Major Crimes and Drugs units, and the Center for the Collection and Dissemination of Criminal Information (CRDIC). The CRDIC analyzes the information and all data received by the police regarding crime incidence.

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