12 Jul 2013 11:19

CARACAS, July 9 (BERNAMA-NNN-XINHUA) -- Venezuela's new homeland security plan has helped cut crime by some 30 percent since its implementation in mid-May, Interior and Justice Minister Miguel Rodriguez Torres said Monday.

Speaking at a press conference in Caracas, Rodriguez called the results of the Safe Homeland Plan, which put National Armed Forces officials in charge of security, "amazing."

"It's amazing that everything has happened in the area of prevention since the implementation of the Safe Homeland Plan," said Rodriguez.

Thanks to the plan, authorities have rescued 29 people who had been abducted, arrested 971 suspects for homicide, 81 for kidnapping and 231 for theft, and confiscated 979 pieces of firearms and 6,286 pieces of ammunition.

The plan was unveiled on May 13 by President Nicolas Maduro, who announced that more than 3,000 military officials would be deployed to Venezuela's largest cities to bolster crime-prevention actions.

It was first put into practice in capital Caracas and was extended to the rest of the country, which has one of Latin America's worst crime rates and high rates of kidnapping and car theft, with 58 shooting homicides per 100,000 inhabitants in 2012, according to official figures.

The plan also includes education and crime prevention measures within communities, such as anti-bullying campaigns and sex education classes at schools, among others.