Violence remains a concern in Brazil.

Brazil has historically done a poor job monitoring violence rates. To date, the federal government has little idea of exactly how many murders happen in the country – as it still doesn’t have a consolidated database to monitor violence rates. The best indicator is a study published annually by the Brazilian Forum of Public Security (FBSP), which compiles and analyzes reports from police departments of all states. And it doesn’t paint a favorable picture of the country: Brazil has actually beaten its own record for homicides, registering 63,880 last year.

This is the equivalent of seven people murdered in Brazil every hour.

The previous record was established one year prior, 61,619 killings. Data shows that the rates went up in states that are located along international drug routes. The northeastern state of Ceará leads the way, with a 48 percent hike in the number of murders and deaths resulting from robberies, confrontations with the police, and physical assault. The next in line is Acre, a state along the Brazil-Bolivia-Peru border, with a 41-percent rise.


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“Brazil shares borders with some of the world’s leading cocaine producers, thus becoming the main route for the drug to get to Europe. Ceará and Acre are in geographically strategic areas for drug smugglers,” says Samira Bueno, executive director at FBSP.

The state of Acre has seen a rise in violent deaths, mainly due to fights between drug gangs for turf. “We sit on the border with Peru and Bolivia, two countries that produce and export large quantities of narcotics,” said the state’s security officer, in a statement.

Ms. Bueno mentions that the new dynamics of organized crime are not the only cause for the hike in violence rates. The state’s weak response, with depleted police forces, salary delays (which facilitates corruption), and police strikes also pushed the homicide rates up.

“Our security apparatus insists in doing more of the same – that is, confrontation,” says Renato Sérgio de Lima, director-president at FBSP. He continues: “Brazil still uses solutions from the 1950s – policies that were envisioned way before the 1988 Constitution.”


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Violence against women

As Brazil’s Supreme Court discusses the possible legalization of abortions, femicide rates in the country have increased. Brazilian women were victims of domestic violence at least 221,238 times over the last year – 606 cases per day. Femicides grew from 929 in 2016 to 1,133 in 2017.

This past month, the country followed two particularly harrowing cases of femicide, widely reported by the media. One took place in the state of Parana, where a man assaulted his wife for 20 minutes (the aggression was filmed by security surveillance cameras), before strangling her and throwing her body over the window. Days later, a man also threw his wife off a three-story building in Brasília.

Rape cases have increased by 8.4 percent between 2016 and 2017, with 60,018 victims reporting the crime to the police. The real number is likely to be much higher, as many victims don’t report rapes for many reasons – proximity to their aggressor, fear for her life, shame, or mistrust in the police system.


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SocietyAug 10, 2018

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BY Maria Martha Bruno

Maria Martha is a journalist with 14 years of experience in politics, arts, and breaking news. She has already collaborated with Al Jazeera, NBC, and CNN, among others. She has also worked as an international correspondent in Buenos Aires.