In Puerto Rico, it is common to hear the term crimen (crime) used as a synonym for delito (crime)-, that is, as an act or omission that, from the legal point of view, signifies the violation of acriminal law.Criminalidad (criminality) is understood to mean the set of criminal behaviors committed at given times and places. But from the criminological point of view, starting exclusively from thelegal definition of crimen(delito) raises several difficulties. One is that both the concept of crime and the concept of criminality exclude other acts that involve violations of derechos humanos(human rights), and these are often not classified as crimes under the law.
To understand the crime rate, in general, in Puerto Rico one begins with an analysis of the statisticaldata on what are known as Type I crimes. This data is collected by the Policía de Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico Police) based on the crime classification system used in the uniform crime reports of theFederal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). In this system, crimes are classified in two main categories: Type I Crimes (certain crimes that must be reported) and Type II Crimes (arrests for crimes of otherkinds). Type I crimes include murder and homicide, robbery, rape, aggravated assault, burglary, theft and auto theft. Type I crimes do not give a proper idea of the state of criminality, since theyare limited to these seven types of crimes, which were selected in the 1930s as the ones most likely to be reported.
In the year 2000, a new system of reporting the crime rate in Puerto Rico beganto be implemented: the Sistema Nacional de Información Basado en Incidentes (National Incident-Based Reporting System, NIBRS) for the Puerto Rico jurisdiction. There is an office within the Puerto Ricopolice, theOficina de Estadísticas de la Criminalidad (Criminal Statistics Office), whose principal function is to administer, gather, analyze, review, register and oversee the statistical data...
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