Brazil Breaks Records of Violence | More than 65,000 Murders in a Year

A total of 65,602 Brazilians lost their lives violently in 2017, a historic record. The most recent data of the Atlas of Violence, released this Wednesday based on official numbers, paint a bleak picture in the South American giant: the violence does not stop growing and the annual homicide rate is already 31.6 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants .

The World Health Organization (WHO) speaks of “epidemic of violence” when the index exceeds ten deaths for that population group. Most Latin American countries far surpasses it, but Brazil triples it. In Spain, one of the safest countries in the world, the rate is 0.6 percent.

“What is happening in Brazil is something that really is outside of all the world’s standards, and few countries approach Brazil in terms of the homicide rate,” said researcher Daniel Cerqueira at the presentation of the report in Rio de Janeiro.

Among the many causes, specialists point to the war unleashed between the two main factions of drug trafficking, the First Command of the Capital (PCC) and the Comando Vermelho (CV), which have displaced their conflict mainly to the states of the north and northeast from the country. The regions most sought by tourists for its beaches and its pleasant climate all year round are increasingly violent.

The state of São Paulo is the second safest (after Santa Catarina, in the south) and Rio de Janeiro, despite continually opening the newscast with the shootings of its favelas, appears in the tenth position in the ranking of 27 States of the country .

Young people between 15 and 29 years are the most affected by violence (35,783 dead in 2017), to the extent that the report speaks of a “lost youth”, but the situation varies greatly depending on the color of the skin. Blacks are 75.5 percent of the victims. The homicide rate for this population group is 43.1, while in the case of whites, indigenous or Brazilian of Asian origin is 16.

“It can not be denied that the violent lethality in Brazil is linked mainly to a social issue, to socially vulnerable groups that are concentrated in certain territories (…) it is as if blacks and non-blacks lived in completely different countries” , warned Cerqueira.

In other risk groups, such as women and the LGBTI collective, the situation is not much better. Violence against women increased 30.7% in a decade and the rate is already 4.7 per 100,000 population. In the case of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transsexuals and intersexes, the report indicates that in the last year, the number of reports of homicide increased by 127% .

Behind the vast majority of deaths, there is a gun. The number of Brazilians killed by firearms grew by 6.8% between 2016 and 2017, skewing 47,500 lives (more than 70% of all homicides). Although the figures are very negative, experts say they could be worse if it were not for the adoption of the Disarmament Statute in 2003 , a law that placed numerous obstacles to the purchase of weapons and is frequently criticized by President Jair Bolsonaro .

Before the approval of that norm, the rate of deaths by firearm rose more than 5% every year on average, but in the following 14 years the average increase decreased considerably. “If the Statute of Disarmament functioned as a brake on homicides in Brazil, which led some states to reduce deaths, today we see that the situation is changing with a total flexibilization of the firearm,” Cerqueira criticized. that the Supreme Court curb the decrees of Bolsonaro in favor of arms.

In his first months of government, Bolsonaro signed two decrees to facilitate access to firearms : one in favor of tenure (being able to keep weapons at home) and another in favor of carrying (being able to go armed in the street). The second had to correct it before the barrage of criticism that occurred after corroborating that any Brazilian could walk with large arms under his arm, such as rifles and submachine guns.

“A firearm inside the house, instead of what people think (of providing security) increases, depending on the type of incident, five to ten times the odds that someone in that house will die from the use of firearms. This weapon increases the possibilities of femicide, of fatal accidents with children and of suicide, “the researcher warned.

This week, a survey by the Brazilian Institute of Public Opinion and Statistics (Ibope) revealed that 73% of Brazilians are against the flexibilization of the carrying of arms and that 26% is favorable.

Originally published at

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