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Venezuela murder rate was record high in 2011

Venezuela witnessed a record number of violent crimes and murders in 2011, according to a local campaign group. The group (Venezuela Violence Observatory) announced that nearly 19,336 people have been murdered this year, making an average of 53 victims a day.

The rates put Venezuela’s murder rate at the highest in South America, which is four times higher than Mexico‚Äôs. Criminal violence will be a major issue discussed in next year’s presidential elections, when Hugo Chavez will run for another term in office.

Proclaiming its message in a news release, the Venezuela Violence Observatory (OVV) urged citizens to realise that 2011 has been the most violent year in national history. The figures, which are based on research conducted by various Venezuelan universities, indicate that Venezuela saw a murder ratio of 67 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2011.

This compares to 32 per 100,000 killings in 2010 in Colombia, a next-door neighbor, and 14 per 100,000 murders in Mexico, two countries struggling with rampant drug-related violence. The Chavez Administration has recognised the issue of violent crime, although its statistics are much lower. Interior Minister Tarek El Aissami told the Venezuelan Congress last February a different murder rate: 48 per 100,000 inhabitants.

Violent crime has been climbing steadily in Venezuela ever since President Chavez took office in 1999, according to the OVV. In that year, about 4,550 killings were registered.

The lobby group did not provide an overall explanation for the rise in violence, but argued that the problem was exacerbated by impunity, since the great majority of murders were going unpunished. Also cited was the high level of gun ownership. As well as the murder rate, robberies and kidnapping are also on the rise.

Last November, the Venezuelan president announced the formation of new armed forces, the People’s Guard, aimed at strengthening public security. Several thousands of troops were sent out on the streets of Caracas as well as other regions to support police where crime levels are high.

Several countries in Latin America have murder rates much higher than the world average of 6.9 killings per 100,000 inhabitants. The most shocking rate in 2010 was in the Central American nation of Honduras, which saw 82 killings per 100,000 people, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

 

 

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