Less than 50 days into 2016 and the latest murder figures from Puerto Rico do nothing but demoralize and depress any hope for immediate relief of the public safety situation. Officially there have been 87 murders in the last 49 days. I say "officially" because as the Puerto Rican Newspaper El Nuevo Dia points out, these figures do not account for at least another 12 cases whose motives have not yet been determined.
The sudden spike in homicides come a year after media outlets reported that the incidence of homicides in the island was at a 15 year low after a few years of decline. These new numbers, currently showing a 53% increase from the same period last year, are worrisome but we should remember that neither crime rates nor criminal behavior act in linear fashion. And neither care much for arbitrary calendar years. A few weeks of lower than average incidents could deliver striking different headlines in a couple of months.