HomeNewsBriefHeavily Armed Youth Gangs Terrorize Caracas: Report
BRIEF

Heavily Armed Youth Gangs Terrorize Caracas: Report

VENEZUELA / 26 AUG 2014 BY CAMILO MEJIA GIRALDO EN

An investigation into violence in neighborhoods in Venezuela's capital Caracas has highlighted how heavily armed and increasingly sophisticated youth gangs are taking advantage of an absent state and terrorizing residents.

According to the El Nacional report, residents of the Cerro Grande sector of the western Caracas municipality Libertador are imprisoned in their own homes as violent turf wars between the area's rival gangs, El 70, Carro Loco and El Lucifer, rage throughout the day.

Even police units in the 19 de Abril neighborhood, the lower part of which is controlled by Carro Loco, reportedly respect the territorial lines marked by graffiti on the bullet-riddled buildings.

The Carro Loco gang consists of around 50 youths armed with grenades, side arms and high caliber weapons, who coordinate activities with portable radios, reported El Nacional. The gangs also count on "gariteros", runners as young as 14, who patrol the area to warn of intrusions by rivals.

The director of the Venezuelan Violence Observatory (OVV), Roberto Briceño Leon, told El Nacional that the gangs have evolved over recent years. Where previously they dealt marijuana and fought predominantly with knives, now they have now moved into the market for harder drugs and are armed with increasingly powerful weaponry.

Over the last 10 years, Briceño added, the authorities have failed to contain street gang expansion.

InSight Crime Analysis

Caracas, by some estimates, is the second most dangerous city in the world, and according to the OVV, the municipality of Libertador is one of its most violent areas, with a homicide rate of 122 per 100,000 people in 2013.

The security situation in the city, and in Venezuela as a whole, has deteriorated significantly over the last decade, with factors such as easy access to weapons and corrupt and ineffective security forces contributing to an atmosphere of lawlessness and impunity, in which crimes such as robberies, kidnapping and drug trafficking have thrived.

It is unsurprising that such an environment has also seen the strengthening of street gangs, which often emerge in places with a weak or absent state. The situation described by El Nacional is reminiscent of some of the region's most gang-plagued regions, such as El Salvador, Honduras and Colombia, where ever-younger gangs are fighting with ever-more powerful weapons for control of territory and criminal revenues.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ELITES AND CRIME / 22 MAR 2019

A new investigation has revealed how Cuban doctors are used by the Venezuelan government in an extortion scheme to remain…

COCAINE / 9 FEB 2021

In July 2020, British drug trafficker Robert Dawes was sentenced to 22 years in prison for his role in one…

CARTEL OF THE SUNS / 8 MAY 2019

Venezuela's social conflict and violence may be even more complicated a week after the failed military uprising led by Juan…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Environmental and Academic Praise

17 JUN 2022

InSight Crime’s six-part series on the plunder of the Peruvian Amazon continues to inform the debate on environmental security in the region. Our Environmental Crimes Project Manager, María Fernanda Ramírez,…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Series on Plunder of Peru’s Amazon Makes Headlines

10 JUN 2022

Since launching on June 2, InSight Crime’s six-part series on environmental crime in Peru’s Amazon has been well-received. Detailing the shocking impunity enjoyed by those plundering the rainforest, the investigation…

THE ORGANIZATION

Duarte’s Death Makes Waves

3 JUN 2022

The announcement of the death of Gentil Duarte, one of the top dissident commanders of the defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), continues to reverberate in Venezuela and Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Cattle Trafficking Acclaim, Investigation into Peru’s Amazon 

27 MAY 2022

On May 18, InSight Crime launched its most recent investigation into cattle trafficking between Central America and Mexico. It showed precisely how beef, illicitly produced in Honduras, Guatemala…

THE ORGANIZATION

Coverage of Fallen Paraguay Prosecutor Makes Headlines

20 MAY 2022

The murder of leading anti-crime prosecutor, Marcelo Pecci, while on honeymoon in Colombia, has drawn attention to the evolution of organized crime in Paraguay. While 17 people have been arrested…