SAN JUAN – Crime continues relentlessly in Puerto Rico, where 10 were slain over the weekend amid a wave of violence that residents hope can be halted by the new chief of police, veteran New York City cop James Tuller Cintron.
Murders committed to date in 2013 number 809, the Puerto Rico Police Department said Monday.
While that total is 57 less than the death toll a year ago, it remains alarming for a territory of only 3.7 million inhabitants.
Tuller, introduced by Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla’s administration as someone who took part in “sweeping” crime from the streets of New York, is due to take charge of the PRPD on Dec. 1.
The change forced on the police high command by the resignation in late October of Hector Pesquera, who gave no reason why he was stepping down, obliged the government to find a substitute for the office of superintendent.
Officials in San Juan settled on Tuller, a New Yorker of a Puerto Rican mother who lived as a child on the Caribbean island, and until recently was chief of transportation with the New York Police Department.
Tuller promised to work to reduce violence in Puerto Rico the way he did, he never tires of saying, in the 1980s and ‘90s when he was instrumental in “cleaning” the New York City streets of criminals.
The new chief of the PRPD will not only have to deal with criminals in the streets, he will also have to implement a reform plan adopted to settle a U.S. Justice Department lawsuit against the PRPD over civil rights abuses and widespread corruption.