Mérida, 20th May 2013 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – A new anti-crime program has resulted in a 55% reduction in homicides in a sector of Greater Caracas, a Venezuelan government official reported yesterday.
The figure was revealed by Interior Affairs Minister Miguel Rodriguez Torres while offering the first results of the government’s “Safe Homeland” plan, which was implemented in four areas of Caracas last week.
The initiative involves members of the Bolivarian Armed Forces (FANB) patrolling communities which suffer the highest crime rates in conjunction with national and local police forces. 3,000 soldiers were deployed in last week’s pilot phase in the Venezuelan capital.
Torres suggested that the 55% homicide reduction, recorded in the Petare neighbourhood in Miranda state, gave “interesting signals” about the effectiveness of the “Safe Homeland” plan.
Crime has become a major issue in Venezuela over recent years, with UN statistics suggesting that the country has the third-highest homicide rate in the Americas, at 45.1 per 1000 inhabitants.
The government of President Nicolas Maduro has pledged to tackle crime and is pursuing a number of anti-crime initiatives including civilian disarmament strategies and the promotion of a community “movement for peace” in the country’s barrios, or poorer neighbourhoods.
Today the “Safe Homeland” plan is to be expanded to the states of Zulia, Lara and Carabobo, with 12,000 officers of the FANB participating.
President Maduro asked the population to “support” the measure, affirming on his twitter account yesterday that “Safe Homeland is the objective that we will achieve for the happiness of all”.