Venezuela is a violent place - there were an average of 52 murders A DAY in the first half of 2012 according to police figures released this week.
With 9,510 murders to June 30th, the country is on track for a homicide rate of an alarming 68 per 100,000 people. In comparison Mexico's homicide rate is 18 per 100,000, the USA is 4.8 per 100,000 and Australia is 1.1 per 100,000.
Caracas - Crime Central
In the same period the murder rate in Caracas rose an astonishing 72% on the previous year with 1,934 killings. The Venezuelan government has acknowledged the problem and has instituted a program to reduce street violence by creating jobs and education opportunities for youth and tightening gun control.
But according to insightcrime.org, another contributing factor is the Caracas-based armed groups or colectivos, aligned with the government. The collectives run parts of Caracas as 'micro-states' according to Venezuela's Metropolitan Observatory on Citizen Security. Last year the most violent municipality in the country was Libertador, Caracas which is home to the greatest concentration of colectivos, in the neighbourhood Enero 23.