Wednesday, January 04, 2006

This sure sucks 

There was some rather disheartening news in Ultimas Noticias today. In 2005 there were 1,621 murders in the Caracas area and this represents a 25% increase over 2004. This is not actually an official number but rather a compilation put together by Ultimas Noticias based on press reports and fragmentary police statistics. They have done this before and apparently these unofficial estimates are reliable.

Earlier in the year I had done at least a couple of posts reporting that based on statistics released at that time crime and homicide rates seemed to be going down. They may have been accurate as according to the Ultimas Noticias estimate there were 612 murders in the first half of the year and 1,009 in the second half. So maybe there was some progress and then for some reason a significant step backwards? I'm not really sure on that but the balance for the year is now known to be decidely negative.

So, this point is going to have to be conceded to the opposition - crime, as least in as much as this one statistic reflects overall crime patterns, is not only out of control but became decidedly worse in the past year. The buck clearly stops with Chavez and his allies as this past year was pricesly the year when the forces of Chavismo controlled most of the major law enforcement departments in metro Caracas including the all important Metropolitan Police. So this is a major failing by Chavez backed local governments and in particular the mayor of Libertador, Freddy Bernal, and the Metropolitan Carcas Mayor, Juan Barreto. Its now past time for someone to put a foot in their rear ends to get them to take effective action on this. This sort of incompetance with deadly consequences certainly isn't going to win Chavismo any more friends or converts.


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