Mayor Assigns Special Police Unit to Old San Juan
SAN JUAN – With the creation of a special municipal-police unit, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto, has introduced a 120-member force to “benefit residents, businesses and visitors” that began patrolling Old San Juan Saturday as part of the Comprehensive Plan for the Walled City.
“This comprehensive plan is aimed at minimizing traffic problems, in addition to protecting the historic and residential aspects through the implementation of municipal ordinances to control heavy vehicles and the establishment of parking areas reserved for residents,” the mayor said while noting that 1.2 million tourists arrive in Old San Juan’s docks yearly not, including island residents who also frequent the old city.
The special unit is composed of 120 officers and required a $124,000 investment as part of their training, which included matters such as civil rights, tourism and Old San Juan’s municipal ordinances.
The officers’ uniform is gray and black, with a new logo representing San Juan City Hall, where one of the tourist information centers is located.
Cruz Soto recalled that Old San Juan is a UNESCO world heritage site, adding that a plan to offer residents and visitors a means of transportation will be established to reduce the number of vehicles that circulate its cobblestone streets.
“Since 2013, when the incident at the San Sebastián Street Festival occurred, no murders have occurred in Old San Juan, and there has been a 28 percent decrease in Type 1 crimes because of the patrolling conducted in the Walled City,” the mayor told Inter News Service.
She noted that although crime increased 30 percent between 2015 to 2016, “the reality is it is less than 23 percent when compared with 2012.”
Cruz Soto emphasized that after having been No. 25 out of the 50 most violent cities in the world, “in 2015 we left that list.”