At least 16,506 violent deaths have occurred this year in Venezuela, the Venezuelan Violence Observatory (OVV) reported on Friday, which means a rate of 60.3 homicides per 100,000 people, yet 21 percentage points less than in 2018. Despite the drop and a reduction in homicides for the third year in a row, the OVV, which conducted its study with eight universities in that country, indicates that Venezuela remains the "most violent" nation in Latin America and "perhaps" " of the world.
According to one of OVV's regional coordinators, Carlos Mélendez, the country's least violent state is Merida (west), with a rate of 31 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants. Still, Venezuela's least violent state continues to outperform the most violent regions in other countries, such as Colombia or Mexico, with a rate of 25 and 29 violent deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, respectively.
According to the NGO, the reduction in the homicide rate is due to the humanitarian crisis situation in the country, the widespread destruction of economic activity, the increased territorial control of organized crime gangs, the emigration of criminals and the reduction of people. in public spaces.
Among the more than 16,000 violent deaths "there are 6,588 homicides committed by criminals with a rate of 24 victims per 100,000 inhabitants," said the same source. NGO data also indicate that 5,282 deaths were recorded due to resistance to authority, mainly homicides by state security forces, excessive use of force or extrajudicial killings.
The rate of police violence exceeds the threshold established by the World Health Organization (WHO), being 19 per 100,000 inhabitants. In 18 of the country's 24 federal zones there is an "epidemic of police violence," observatory director Roberto Briceño León said.
After United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet presented her first report on the situation in Venezuela in July, denouncing extrajudicial executions, there were 2,698 deaths in the country due to lethal police actions. "One hundred victims a week," added the Observatory,
The study also highlights the suicide rate that, according to Roberto León, has increased over the past three years, ranging from nine to ten suicides per 100,000 inhabitants. Suicides, according to the director of the observatory, are also related to living conditions in the country.