Venezuelan authorities have destroyed more than 30,000 illegal firearms as part of an effort to combat soaring crime.

The government plans to sell the demolished guns as scrap metal and donate the proceeds to a foundation that cares for children suffering from cancer.

Justice Minister Tareck El Aissami says workers used blow torches to destroy the weapons Wednesday. He says the initiative will further the fight against criminal organizations.

Violent crime is one of Venezuela's most pressing problems. The government stopped releasing complete annual murder figures in 2005, but last year the Justice Ministry said homicides averaged 152 a week, or roughly 7,900 for 12 months.