Photo: Celebratory gunfire
Puerto Rico managed to exit 2013 without a single reported casualty resulting from the New Year’s Eve custom of firing guns into the air, police said Wednesday.
“My first comments for 2014 should be of recognition for the members of the Puerto Rican police and the cooperation of the public that have allowed us to close out 2013 without injuries or deaths from spent bullets,” Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla said Wednesday.
In addition, he emphasized that during 2013 there were 122 fewer murders on the island than during the year before.
“I must acknowledge the interagency work, and work by civil organizations and committed individuals such as Papo Christian to raise awareness about the need for us to maintain a culture of peace,” he added.
The new superintendent of the Puerto Rico Police Department, James Tuller Cintron, also hailed the success of the “No more bullets fired into the air” campaign and he congratulated the work of the police, which he personally supervised all night long at different spots in the northern part of the island.
A year ago, on the last night of 2012, three people were wounded by bullets fired into the air, a practice that is also customary in other parts of the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean.
Last month, in Puerto Rico the penalties for illegal weapons possession were toughened and obligatory prison sentences were established for people found guilty of firing guns into the air.
On New Year’s Eve and during the early morning hours of January 1 three people were arrested for intoxication and 28 for domestic violence, two for drug possession and one for illegally using fireworks, the PRPD said.
One person was run over by a vehicle and killed and four people were murdered in San Juan, Ponce and Coamo.
“We have a lot left to do. This is a good start but we’re not going to let down our guard. In 2014 ... we reiterate our commitment to continue reducing crime, thus improving our quality of life,” said Garcia Padilla in a communique.