HomeNewsBriefVenezuela Gov't Claims Homicides Down 30%; Really?
BRIEF

Venezuela Gov't Claims Homicides Down 30%; Really?

HOMICIDES / 13 DEC 2013 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

Venezuela's interior minister says the 2013 murder rate has fallen around 30 percent since last year, a dubious claim according to NGO counts and given the government's propensity for fudging crime statistics.

Interior Minister Miguel Rodriguez Torres told Reuters the country was set to end 2013 with a homicide rate of 39 per 100,000 residents, which according to statistics from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), would make it the lowest since 2005. 

The figure would represent a major drop from the government's official 2012 murder rate of 56 per 100,000 -- itself a record high. Independent counts set the 2012 rate much higher, at up to 73 per 100,000.

The minister attributed the 2013 decrease to President Nicolas Maduro's program of sending soldiers to the streets to fight crime.

"There's still a lot of work to do, but we're heading firmly in the right direction," said Rodriguez.

The independent Venezuelan Observatory of Violence, meanwhile, has projected a 24 percent rise in murders on the 21,000 it recorded last year. To this, the minister replied, "They want to keep the perception worse than the reality."

InSight Crime Analysis

Earlier this year, Rodriguez admitted to media that the Venezuelan government keeps unfavorable crime statistics secret, saying he told Maduro they should start releasing the numbers now that they were "in tune with what we want." Over the year, his claims of decreasing homicides have ranged from five to 61 percent, and the government's lack of transparency and wildly fluctuating estimates offer good reason for doubt.

SEE ALSO: Venezuela News and Profiles

Additionally, the first four months of this year saw record homicide numbers maintained, putting the country on track to far exceed the 16,000 murders officially recorded by the government in 2012. As of August, the Venezuelan Observatory of Violence had calculated 25,000 murders for the year.

Even if Rodriguez's claims were credible, a murder rate of 39 per 100,000 would be nearly four times what the World Health Organization (WHO) classifies as "epidemic," and among the highest in Latin America -- above both Colombia and Mexico. The fact that such a figure appears to be a wildly optimistic projection only further highlights the country's dire security situation.

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.

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

DRUG POLICY / 7 JUL 2016

A 2012 law that allows Venezuela’s air force to shoot down aircraft on suspicious flight paths reflects a policy that…

HOMICIDES / 15 JAN 2019

Authorities in Honduras have touted a decline in homicides recently, but a series of massacres to start 2019 raises questions…

HOMICIDES / 10 MAY 2018

In our May 10 Facebook Live session, Senior Investigator Deborah Bonello and Managing Editor Josefina Salomón discussed the challenging environment…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.

THE ORGANIZATION

Series on Environmental Crime in the Amazon Generates Headlines

17 SEP 2021

InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute have been delighted at the response to our joint investigation into environmental crimes in the Colombian Amazon. Coverage of our chapters dedicated to illegal mining…