lunes, 1 de junio de 2015

About "15 killings a day" in Caracas in May, March far more violent

The Venezuelan newspaper El Universal has reported "a total of 364" killings or violent deaths in Greater Caracas between 1 and 25 May, equivalent to "almost 15 killings a day." Venezuela's capital has in recent years become one of the world's most violent cities, and the country has several cities with high crime rates. Such figures are often obtained informally and for the capital, bodies brought into the Bello Monte morgue are taken as an indicator of killings. The government has sought to keep a lid on crime figures and often accused opposition media of sowing fear in the population. The figure for the days cited in May was inferior to those given for preceding months, though killings can increase dramatically within hours, especially at weekends. The website Informe 21 cited 420 killings in Greater Caracas in February, and several websites reported no less than 453 purported victims of violent deaths being taken to Bello Monte in March. For April El Universal counted 393 victims. The head of Venezuela's National Guard separately said on 26 May that its agents had dismantled 651 criminal gangs or bands between 1 January and 24 May, El Universal reported on 27 May, though it was not immediately clear if that was nationwide or in Greater Caracas. General Sergio Rivero Marcano said his agents confiscated 1,939 firearms and 363 knives or blunt weapons in this period. Another newspaper, El Nacional reported on 1 June that plans to install 400 security cameras in Baruta, a district of Caracas, was prompting some residents' suspicions that these were to monitor the population, not help protect them from crime. An unspecified number of cameras were already installed in the districts of Sucre and Chacao in the metropolitan zone, it stated, observing that parts of Baruta may have been pinpointed as possible "restive" areas for having witnessed anti-government protests in 2014 or before. Increasing the number of security cameras nationwide was part of the Interior Ministry's VEN 911 anti-crime initiative, El Nacional reported.