Venezuela sees highest ever murder rate in 2011

by Alister POOLE on December 28, 2011

A campaign group in Venezuela says that the country has this year suffered a record amount of murders.

The group, known as the Venezuela Violence Observatory, insists that almost 19,350 people have been murdered this year, which means an average of at least 53 per day. These figures suggest that Venezuela’s murder rate stands as the highest in its continent South America and also four times more than that of Mexico.

During next year’s general election, which will see current President Hugo Chavez seeking a further term at the helm, criminal violence and what will be done to combat it is to become a major talking point. In its news release, the Venezuela Violence Observatory said that the nation must be aware that 2011 will finish as being the most violent in its history.

The figures - based on the research done by students and academics at several Venezuelan universities are suggestive of 2011 seeing Venezuela with a murder rate of at least 67 per 100,000 inhabitants. This can be compared with the 32 per 100,000 that Colombia had last year and the 14 per 100,000 of Mexico, with both countries currently suffering in their attempt to combat nationwide drug-related violence.

The Venezuelan government has identified that there is a problem with violent crime but has its figures considerably lower than those of the Venezuela Violence Observatory. In February, the country’s Interior Minister told Congress that the murder rate was just 48 per 100,000 citizens.

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