Venezuela still hotspot despite dip in murders

Feb 03, 2016, 12:54 AM EST
Vista Plaza Venezuela.
Source: Paulino Moran/Wikimedia Commons

Venezuela's murder rate fell last year to 58 per 100,000 inhabitants, the government said on Tuesday, but the violence-racked nation remains one of the world's most dangerous.

Reuters reports:

"This indicator is extremely worrying because it confirms we have a grave problem of violent crime," the state's chief prosecutor Luisa Ortega told parliament, giving the figure. Though that figure was an improvement on the official murder rate of 62 per 100,000 in 2014, violent crime remains an all-pervasive worry for Venezuela's 29 million people, especially in poor slums run by gangs and rife with guns. Numerous state security plans and disarmament drives in recent years have failed to curb violence in Venezuela where easy access to arms, police participation in crime, and high levels of impunity have allowed delinquency to flourish. Only Honduras has a worse murder rate than Venezuela, according to the United Nations.

The Telegraph writes:

Venezuela has a higher level of urban violence than Brazil generally and the worst in the world apart from El Salvador and Honduras, according to Jose Antonio Ortega Sanchez, the Citizen Council's president Caracas' soaring murder rate meant it overtook San Pedro Sula in Honduras, which dropped to number two due to a "significant decline" in the murder rate after being the world's violent city for the four previous consecutive years. The report blamed Venezuela's increasingly turbulent political and economic situation for Caracas's appearance and that of three other Venezuelan cities, Maturin and Valencia, which featured in the top 10 at five and seven respectively, and Ciudad Guayana, which was the 11th most violent.