March 31, 2017 / 11:44 PM / 5 months ago

Venezuela says murders soared to 60 per day in 2016

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela's murder rate rose to an average 60 per day last year, up from about 45 per day in 2015, the attorney general's office said on Friday, as a deep economic and political crisis exacerbated violence in the country.

Official data put the murder rate at 70.1 per 100,000 inhabitants last year, one of the highest in the world and up from 58 in 2015.

Violent crime is one of the most pervasive anxieties for Venezuelans, especially in poor slums dominated by gangs and rife with guns.

Numerous state security plans and disarmament drives in recent years have failed to curb violence given easy access to weapons, police participation in crime, and high levels of impunity in the nation of 30 million people.

A brutal economic recession that has millions skipping meals has pushed more Venezuelans towards crime, according to officials, rights groups and neighbourhood organizations.

Reporting by Alexandra Ulmer and Diego Ore; Editing by Girish Gupta

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