Crime in Brazil

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Detention in Brasília.

Crime in Brazil involves an elevated incidence of violent and non-violent crimes.[1] According to most sources, Brazil possesses high rates of violent crimes, such as murders and robberies; depending on what source you believe (UNDP or World Health Organization) the homicide rate is 30-35 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants.[2] placing Brazil in the top 20 countries by intentional homicide rate.[3]

It is believed that most life-threatening crime in Brazil can be traced back to drug trade and alcoholism.[4][5] Brazil is a heavy importer of cocaine, as well as part of the international drug routes.[6] Arms and marijuana employed by criminals are mostly locally produced.[6][7]

Crime by type[edit]

Murder[edit]

In 2012, Brazil had a murder rate of 25.2 per 100,000 population.[8] There were a total of 50,108 murders in Brazil in 2012.[8] Another study has the 2012 murder rate at 32.4 per 100,000, with 64,357 homicides.[9]

By Brazilian states[edit]

List of the Brazilian state capitals by homicide rate (homicides per 100,000):[10]

Murders increased during the late 2000s. Bucking this trend are the two largest cities. In 2008 Rio de Janeiro registered the lowest murder rate in 18 years, while São Paulo is now approaching the 10 murders per 100,000 mark, down from 35.7 in 1999. A notable example is the municipality of Diadema, where crime rates fell abruptly.

Total murders set new records in the three years from 2009 to 2011, surpassing the previous record set in 2003. 2003 still holds the record for murders per 100,000 in Brazil; that year alone the rate was 28.9.[11] Police records post significantly lower numbers than the health ministry.

More than 500,000 people were been killed by firearms in Brazil between 1979 and 2003, according to a 2005 UN report.[12] Nearly half of those who died from gun violence during those years were aged between 15 and 24.[13]

Robbery[edit]

Carjacking is common, particularly in major cities. Local citizens and visitors alike are often targeted by criminals, especially during public festivals such as the Carnaval.[14] Pickpocketing and bag snatching are common. Thieves operate in outdoor markets, in hotels and on public transport.

Kidnapping[edit]

Express kidnappings, where individuals are abducted and forced to withdraw funds from ATMs to secure their release, are common in major cities including Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Brasília, Curitiba, Porto Alegre, Salvador and Recife.[15]

Corruption[edit]

Further information: Corruption in Brazil

Corruption in Brazil is a pervasive social problem. Brazil scored 43 on the 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index, tying with Bulgaria and Greece, being ranked 69th among 175 countries.[16] Corruption was cited among many issues that provoked the 2013 protests in Brazil.[17]

Corruption is a capital offense[18] and yet is an important part of Brazil's politics. For years, embezzlement and corruption have been involved in Brazilian elections, and yet the electorate continues to vote for the same convicted politicians.[19]

Domestic violence[edit]

Further information: Domestic violence in Brazil

Between 10 and 15 women are murdered per day in Brazil.[20][21] A government sponsored study found that 41,532 women were murdered in Brazil between 1997 and 2007.[22]

Crime dynamics[edit]

An overhead view of Rocinha, the largest favela in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, 2014.

Gangs[edit]

Gang violence had been directed at police, security officials and related facilities. Gangs have also attacked official buildings and set alight public buses.[23] May 2006 São Paulo violence began on the night of 12 May 2006 in São Paulo, Brazil. It was the worst outbreak of violence which has been recorded in Brazilian history and was directed against security forces and some civilian targets. By May 14 the attacks had spread to other Brazilian states including Paraná, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais and Bahia. Another outbreak of violence took place in São Paulo in July 2006.

Gang violence in Brazil has become an important issue affecting youth. Brazilian gang members have used children to commit crimes because their prison sentences are shorter. As of 2007, murder was the most common cause of death among youth in Brazil, with 40% of all murder victims aged between 15 and 25 years old.[24]

Youth crime[edit]

Youth comprise a significant percentage of victims and perpetrators of crime in Brazil.[25]

Gangs[edit]

In regard to inter-gang conflict, gangs typically challenge demand an aggressive reaction to defend their reputations. If someone does not respond in this manner, they are socially isolated. The gangs in Brazil are very territorial, and focused on their illegal business. Theft and robbery bring in small amounts of money compared to narcotic and weapons sales so it is less common for these gangs to get involved in petty crimes of theft or robbery.[26]

The gangs here are interested in harmony because they do not want any contact with the police. They will even go to helping others in the community, with money and even protecting them, just to be sure that the police do not come around. The issue with these gangs being so rich and powerful is that the children of these communities then see this and want to be involved. Gang members then become a substitute for family and are role models because they have respect.[26]

It is most common for these gangs to be under a military command structure.[26] Each favela has one dono who is in charge of controlling the managers of a favela and the soldados in his territory. The latter protect the favela against other drug factions and the police. They are also responsible for taking over other favelas. The managers of a favela control the managers of the bocas (the places where drugs are sold in the favela). The managers of the bocas in turn control the drug dealers who sell the drugs in the area around a boca. There are children and woman who wait at the entrances to a favela to signal to the others if the police or other gangs are about to enter.[26] It is normal to join at about 10 years old, and by 12 years old to carry weapons. These gangs are attractive to the children and youth because they offer protection, recognition, and career options that those who join could not achieve on their own. Favelas are now often controlled by juveniles and young adults.[26]

The concern here is of the strong ties that are between illegal business and politicians, police officers, the justice system, and the economy. Not all people are involved but all layers of society are affected because of corruption. Police are bribed to not disturb what these gangs are doing, as well as many of them are dealers themselves.[26] Also, the young children are carrying guns and may be nervous, aware of peer pressure, or on drugs and can become careless. The level of brutality and homicide rates have skyrocketed in countries with younger gang members like this.[26]

Drug trafficking[edit]

Cracklandia ("land of crack") in central Sao Paulo.

The primary drug trafficking jobs for children and youth are:

  • endoladores: packages the drugs[26]
  • olheiro and/or fogueteiro: looks out to provide and early warning of police or any enemy drug faction invasion[26]
  • Drug mule : carries drugs to others inside their body, these are unwilling members of a gang, and don't survive for very long.
  • vapor: drug sales persons[26]
  • gerente da boca: overseer of drugsales[26]
  • soldado: soldiers, armed and employed to maintain protection[26]
  • fiel: personal armed security guard for the "gerente geral"[26]
  • gerente geral or dono: owner/boss[26]

Avioes are "little airplanes". These are the children who deliver messages and drugs to customers. They are not described in the hierarchal organization, but they are very low/entry level positions. In addition, this position has the most arrests.[26]

Of 325 youth that were incarcerated, 44% of boys and 53% of girls reported some involvement with drug trafficking.[26] Selling and carrying drugs were the most common activities between both boys and girls. The most common drug was marijuana, followed by cocaine and crack.[26] From the study; 74% had used marijuana, 36% had snorted cocaine, and 21% had used crack.[26]

Youth held low positions in the hierarchy and engaged in relatively low volumes of activity for short periods of time. The police are capturing the front-line players of the drug industry rather than the donos. 51% of youth involved with trafficking reported it to be very easy to obtain a gun.[26] While 58% involved in trafficking, reported it to be very easy to obtain cocaine.[26]

Penalties[edit]

The penalties of these youth have intentions to withdraw the youth from circulation. As a lot of street culture crime is from children and youth. The main penalty is to be sent to educational centers, with the sentence not exceeding 3 years.[27] The educational centers are comparable with prisons but are not called that because it is not an official form of prison. For youth that are almost 18, they get no penalty at all. This is because they cannot be punished under juvenile law, or adult law. And when these youth turn 18, their records are wiped clean.[27]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Brazil - Crime". Retrieved 17 December 2014. 
  2. ^ "Homicide Statistics 2013". UNODC. 
  3. ^ "Óbitos por Causas Externas 1996 a 2010" (in Portuguese). DATASUS. Retrieved 2012-06-05. 
  4. ^ Drug in Brazil
  5. ^ "Vya Estelar - Cyber Drogas - Consumo de crack pode levar o indivduo a se tornar criminoso?". Retrieved 17 December 2014. 
  6. ^ a b "The World Factbook". Retrieved 17 December 2014. 
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ a b Global Study on Homicide. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2013.
  9. ^ http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/12/15/250087/as-world-homicide-rate-declines.html
  10. ^ Mapa da Violência 2013
  11. ^ O DIA Online - Rio no mapa da morte
  12. ^ Kingstone, Steve (2005-06-27). "UN highlights Brazil gun crisis". BBC News. Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  13. ^ Kingstone, Steve (2005-06-27). "UN highlights Brazil gun crisis". BBC News. Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  14. ^ "Violence mars Rio carnival dawn". BBC News. 2003-02-28. Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  15. ^ Travel Report for Brazil
  16. ^ 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index
  17. ^ phillipviana June 14, 2013 What's REALLY behind the Brazilian riots? CNN
  18. ^ http://www.dw.de/the-persistence-of-corruption-in-brazilian-politics/a-17974970
  19. ^ http://www.dw.de/the-persistence-of-corruption-in-brazilian-politics/a-17974970
  20. ^ "Brazil femicide law signed by President Rousseff", BBC News, 10 March 2015.
  21. ^ "Study: In Brazil, 10 women killed daily in domestic violence", Helena de Moura, CNN, July 12, 2010.
  22. ^ "Study: In Brazil, 10 women killed daily in domestic violence", Helena de Moura, CNN, July 12, 2010.
  23. ^ "Gang violence grips Brazil state". BBC News. 2006-05-15. Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  24. ^ Glüsing, Jens (March 2, 2007). "Violence in Rio de Janeiro: Child Soldiers in the Drug Wars". Spiegel Online. 
  25. ^ Heinemann, Alessandra (2006). "Crime and Violence in Development: A Literature Review of Latin America and the Caribbean". World Bank. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  26. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t McLennan, John D., Bordin, Isabel, Bennett, Kathryn, Rigato, Fatima, Brinkerhoff, Merlin (2008). "Trafficking among youth in conflict with the law in Sao Paulo, Brazil". Social Psychiatry & Psychiatric Epidemiology 43 (10): 816–823. doi:10.1007/s00127-008-0365-6. 
  27. ^ a b Zdun, Steffen (2008). "Violence in street culture: Cross-cultural comparison of youth groups and criminal gangs". New Directions For Youth Development 2008 (119): 39–54. doi:10.1002/yd.272.