CARACAS, VENEZUELA - APRIL 12: A police man guards a building where a bomb exploded April 12, 2003 in Caracas, Venezuela. A bomb ripped through a building where government and opposition negotiators had agreed to hold a referendum on President Hugo Chavez. This blast follows several other bomb explosions in the last six weeks and falls on the year anniversary of a brief coup attempt against President Chavez. (Photo by Kimberly White/Getty Images)2003 Getty Images
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) – A non-governmental group that tracks violent crime in Venezuela says the country's homicide rate has risen again in 2013 and has quadrupled over the past 15 years.
The Venezuelan Violence Observatory estimates that 24,763 killings occurred this year, pushing up the homicide rate to 79 per 100,000 inhabitants. It was 73 per 100,000 people in 2012. In 1998, the rate was 19.
Venezuela's government has gradually blocked access to murder statistics as violent crime has worsened the past decade. The report published Thursday was compiled by researchers based on press reports, victim surveys and comments by officials.
Interior Minister Miguel Rodriguez Torres said last week that the homicide rate has fallen this year from 50 to 39 per 100,000 inhabitants. But he declined to provide details.
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