News: Law and Justice
Venezuelan National Guard to Assist in Crime Prevention
Mérida, August 6th 2009 (Venezuelanalysis.com) -- Venezuela will send 1,700 National Guard troops to assist in crime prevention and crime fighting in twenty-eight neighborhoods in the capital city of Caracas, President Hugo Chávez announced on Tuesday.
The plan, called "The People's Guard," has already been tested with success in four Caracas communities, and focuses primarily on crime prevention, Chavez said during a ceremony to commemorate the 72nd anniversary of the creation of the National Guard.
"The People's Guard should be like a doctor in [the public health care program] Barrio Adentro; more than crime fighters, you should be deployed in the community and prevent crime," said the president. The Barrio Adentro program has made free primary and preventative health care available to nearly every Venezuelan.
The People's Guard brigades wear a different uniform than standard National Guard troops, and are meant to work with the local government, community councils, and social programs to contribute to national development as well as citizen security and national defense.
Chavez instructed the troops to bring "security based on the respect for life," and leave behind the "repressive security" that has characterized Venezuela's security forces.
According to the head of the National Guard, General Freddy Carrión, the People's Guard grew out of previous plans in which the National Guard was deployed to secure Caracas's public buses and other key public spaces.
The plan is now in its second phase, during which it will strive to significantly lower the city's crime rates. If the model is successful, 2,000 more troops will be deployed next year, and the model will gradually be extended throughout the nation, according to Carrión.
Crime rates, including homicides, have increased significantly in recent years, and in several polls more than 75% of Venezuelans ranked insecurity as the top issue affecting the country.
Published on Aug 6th 2009 at 7.49pm
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