Homicide scene in Caracas

Venezuela's capital registered 3,218 homicides during the first 10 months of 2012, putting it on pace to surpass last year's total and indicating that clashes between street gangs remain one of the primary drivers of violence in the city.

The statistics are taken from the Venezuelan national police agency the CICPC, reported El Universal

According to the CICPC's numbers, 70 percent of the homicides in Caracas and the surrounding metropolitan area were related to armed assaults. The definition appears to encompass armed robbery, as well as confrontations between street gangs. There are thought to be hundreds of gangs in Caracas, usually no more than seven to 10 people defending small chunks of territory. 

Caracas' municipality of Libertador -- where the presidential palace and many other government buildings are based, alongside poorer neighborhoods like the 23 de Enero -- remains the most violent, with 2,580 murders registered so far this year, or about 258 murders a month. In comparison, the other four municipalities in the Caracas metropolitan district registered 638 homicide victims between January and October 2012.

Last year Caracas registered 3,488 homicides in total, according to the CICPC.

In the past, the police agency's numbers have been slightly smaller than those kept by NGO the Venezuelan Violence Observatory, which reported 19,336 homicide victims in Venezuela last year, compared to the CICPC's count of 18,850. The NGO called 2011 Venezuela's most violent year ever. 

InSight Crime Analysis 

The homicide tally is an indication that consolidating security in Caracas will remain a challenge for President Hugo Chavez as he begins his fourth term. The CICPC data suggests that 2012 could turn out to be even more violent than 2011, if murders continue at the same pace.

The government has taken a few steps to try and stem violence in the capital, including overhauling the city police and encouraging disarmament schemes. But a weak judiciary means few are punished for committing crimes, leaving Caracas' street gangs essentially with free reign to deal drugs and kill one another over petty rivalries, with little intervention from the authorities.

Even with increased evidence that organized crime is deepening its hold inside the country, it appears that urban street gangs will remain the primary drivers of violence in the capital. 

 

Investigations

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Prev Next

Colombia Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Colombia Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

The power of Colombia's elites is founded upon one of the most unequal divisions of land in the world. As of the early 21st century, one percent of landowners own more than half the country's agricultural land.1  Under Spanish rule, Colombia's agriculture was organized on the hacienda...

Honduras Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Honduras Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Honduras is currently one of the most violent countries on the planet that is not at war. The violence is carried out by transnational criminal organizations, local drug trafficking groups, gangs and corrupt security forces, among other actors. Violence is the focal point for the international aid...

Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Organized crime and the violence associated with it is the preeminent problem in Latin America and the Caribbean today. The region is currently home to six of the most violent countries in the world that are not at war. Four of those countries are in Central America...

Special Report: Gangs in Honduras

Special Report: Gangs in Honduras

In a new report based on extensive field research, InSight Crime and the Asociacion para una Sociedad mas Justa have traced how Honduras' two largest gangs, the MS13 and the Barrio 18, are evolving, and how their current modus operandi has resulted in staggering levels of violence...

Bolivia: the New Hub for Drug Trafficking in South America

Bolivia: the New Hub for Drug Trafficking in South America

Transnational organized crime likes opportunities and little resistance. Bolivia currently provides both and finds itself at the heart of a new criminal dynamic that threatens national and citizen security in this landlocked Andean nation.

Justice and the Creation of a Mafia State in Guatemala

Justice and the Creation of a Mafia State in Guatemala

As Guatemala's Congress gears up to select new Supreme Court Justices and appellate court judges, InSight Crime is investigating how organized crime influences the selection process. This story details the interests of one particular political bloc vying for control over the courts and what's at stake: millions...

The FARC 2002-Present: Decapitation and Rebirth

The FARC 2002-Present: Decapitation and Rebirth

In August 2002, the guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) greeted Colombia's new president with a mortar attack that killed 14 people during his inauguration. The attack was intended as a warning to the fiercely anti-FARC newcomer. But it became the opening salvo of...

The Urabeños - The Criminal Hybrid

The Urabeños - The Criminal Hybrid

The mad scramble for criminal power in the aftermath of the demobilization of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) is over. The Urabeños, or as they prefer to call themselves, the "Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia," have won.

Mexico's Security Dilemma: The Battle for Michoacan

Mexico's Security Dilemma: The Battle for Michoacan

Faced with the government's failure to rein in the criminals, communities across crime-besieged Mexico have been trying for years to organize effective civic resistance. Michoacan's vigilantes express the most extreme response by society to date, but other efforts have been less belligerent. In battle-torn cities along the...

Uruguay's Marijuana Bill Faces Political, Economic Obstacles

Uruguay's Marijuana Bill Faces Political, Economic Obstacles

If Uruguay's proposal to regulate the production, sale and distribution of marijuana is properly implemented and overcomes political and economic hurdles, it could be the most important drug regulation experiment in decades.