What Does Puerto Rico's 2018 Murder Surge Tell Us About Post-Storm Violence?
It’s been more than 100 days since Maria decimated Puerto Rico and the island is still reeling. Power is still out for nearly 40 percent of Puerto Ricans, water is polluted with sewage, and federal aid has been slow to mobilize and plagued by sketchiness.
These woes have been ongoing for months but a report from the Associated Press reveals a new issue. The new year has brought an uptick in murders with 32 slain in 11 days. The island averages 56 homicides in a month, already well above the U.S. average, but this month could be a particularly deadly outlier (let’s also not forget Puerto Ricans have also been dying for other entirely preventable reasons since Maria).
While the first three months after the storm were close to that average, violent deaths have accelerated in January. It’s much to early to call it part of a trend, but at least some research suggests storms and other disasters can lead to an increase in crime.