Murder Rate in Venezuela is Highest in 2011

A Venezuelan campaign group says the country has suffered a record number of murders in 2011.

The Venezuela Violence Observatory says at least 19,336 people have been murdered this year, an average of 53 a day.

The figures suggest Venezuela’s murder rate is the highest in South America and four times that of Mexico.

Street crimes and bloody attacks on civilians are the major issues in Venezuela and next government will have to make the policies that could empower the law enforcement agencies.

Criminal violence is set to be a major issue in next year’s elections, when President Hugo Chavez is seeking another term in office.

“We must inform the nation that 2011 will end as the most violent year in the nation’s history,” the Venezuela Violence Observatory (OVV) said in a news release.

Its figures – based on research by several Venezuelan universities – suggest that in 2011 Venezuela had a murder rate of 67 per 100,000 inhabitants. But according to interior minister of Venezuela, it is 48 per 100,000 inhabitants.

That compares to 32 per 100,000 last year in neighbouring Colombia and 14 per 100,000 in Mexico, two countries suffering widespread drug-related violence.

Official figures of crime rate are much lower, but government recognizes the major issue of violent crime.