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.