CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela’s murder rate fell last year to 58 per 100,000 inhabitants, the government said on Tuesday, but the violence-racked nation remains one of the world’s most dangerous.
“This indicator is extremely worrying because it confirms we have a grave problem of violent crime,” the state’s chief prosecutor Luisa Ortega told parliament, giving the figure.
Though that figure was an improvement on the official murder rate of 62 per 100,000 in 2014, violent crime remains an all-pervasive worry for Venezuela’s 29 million people, especially in poor slums run by gangs and rife with guns.
Numerous state security plans and disarmament drives in recent years have failed to curb violence in Venezuela where easy access to arms, police participation in crime, and high levels of impunity have allowed delinquency to flourish.
Only Honduras has a worse murder rate than Venezuela, according to the United Nations.
Local rights groups say Venezuela’s murder rate is higher than the official statistics, with one monitoring organization putting it at 90 per 100,000 people in 2015.
Reporting by Diego Ore and Eyanir Chinea; writing by Andrew Cawthorne; editing by Tom Brown