SAN JUAN — Voters in Puerto Rico have narrowly rejected constitutional amendments that would have reduced the size of the territory’s Legislature and given judges the right to deny bail.
With 99 percent of polling places reporting, officials said 54 percent of the 805,337 votes counted rejected the legislative measure and 46 percent favored it. Fifty-five percent opposed the bail measure and 45 percent supported it.
The results mean Puerto Rico will remain the only place in the Western Hemisphere where everyone is entitled to bail regardless of the alleged crime.
‘‘It is a time to celebrate because the people have saved our constitution and our rights,’’ said Arturo Hernandez, gubernatorial candidate for the Sovereign Union Movement, one of the island’s minority parties.
Governor Luis Fortuno and other members of his pro-statehood party lamented the bail change wasn’t approved. ‘‘This would have been a great tool to fight crime,’’ Fortuno said as he thanked the families of victims who supported the measure.
Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz, who also supported the referendum, said he accepted the defeat and that he respects the will of the people.
“This is one of the most important referendums in many years,’’ said Alexandra Beltran, a San Juan resident who voted in the upscale neighborhood of Ocean Park accompanied by her husband and young daughter. ‘‘I believe it’s time we do something to intimidate criminals.’’
The island of nearly 4 million people reported a record 1,117 homicides last year, and the drug-fueled violence continues unabated, with an increasing number of innocent bystanders being killed.
The bail rule would have gone into effect by month’s end, while the reduction of the Legislature’s size would have become effective in January 2017.
At polling stations in the impoverished seaside town of Loiza, some voters decried the wave of violence that has hit their town especially hard.
‘‘I came to vote because they killed my only son six months ago,’’ Aurea Elicea said as she wiped away tears.
The referendum comes just weeks after federal prosecutors charged a man with murder and held him two weeks without bail only to release him after saying they had the wrong person. It was a case still fresh in the minds of voters like Daisa Rivera, 30, who said there should always be a presumption of innocence.
Other voters such as Efrain Santos Clemente, 56, remained unswayed.
‘‘Given the current situation in Puerto Rico, I think we need to find a solution to the increase in crime,’’ he said, adding that he supports shrinking the Legislature so that money can be used to reduce crime, as several politicians have pledged.
If approved, the bail amendment would have granted judges the right to deny bail to those accused of premeditated murder, killing a police officer, or killing someone in a public space or during a home invasion, sexual assault, or drive-by shooting.
The referendum question on the Legislature would have reduced the number of Senate seats from 27 to 17 and the number of House seats from 51 to 39.