Society

Brazil’s falling murder rate: too good to be true?

According to a recent study, Brazil's murder rate dropped by more than one-fifth in 2019, but statistical inconsistencies cast a shadow over seemingly positive results

violence In three states in the country's North and Northeast, murder rates are comparable to those in the world's most dangerous nations. Photo: Joa Souza
In three states in the country’s North and Northeast, murder rates are comparable to those in the world’s most dangerous nations. Photo: Joa Souza

In 2017, amid an explosion of gang-related turf wars, Brazil recorded a shocking 31.6 murders for every 100,000 people. In three states in the country’s North and Northeast, this rate topped 60 — comparable to figures in the world’s most dangerous nations. Since then, however, the total number of murders in Brazil has fallen significantly. The 12-percent drop in 2018 was the biggest decrease in a decade, and latest figures from the Brazilian Public Security Forum and Institute of Applied Economic Research’s Violence Atlas study suggest an even steeper decline in 2019.

Using data from the Health Ministry’s...

Access all of The Brazilian Report
Start your 7-day free trial.
Free trial