Crime in Brazil

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
National Force of Public Safety vehicles in transit.
Detention in Brasília.
Police station of the Rio de Janeiro state police.

Crime in Brazil has had an increase in violent and non-violent crimes.[1] According to most sources, Brazil has high rates of violent crimes, such as murders and robberies. The homicide rate was getting smaller, but has started going back up from 2006 onwards. In 2010 it was above 25 homicides per 100,000 people. This makes is one of the 20 worst rates in the world.[2]

Overview[change | change source]

Kidnappings do still happen. Increased police know-how has helped the problem. Prostitution per se is not a crime in Brazil, unlike procuring. The Government of Brazil has increased efforts to combat child prostitution and sex tourism. In 2010, there were 473,600 people in Brazilian prisons and jails.[3] Drugs are responsible for 85,000 of the total.[4]

It is believed that most life-threatening crime in Brazil is linked to drug trade and alcoholism.[5][6] Brazil is a heavy importer of cocaine. It is part of the international drug route.[7] Arms and marijuana used by criminals are mostly locally-produced.[7][8]

New laws have stricter punishment for domestic abuse and driving under the influence.[9][10] Thousands of human trafficking and slavery cases are reported each year. These are usually connected to sugarcane plantations or, in the cities, illegal immigrants from Asia and Latin America.[11] Crime rates change greatly across the country, with a higher amount in metropolitan suburbs and in border zones.[12]

The crime of money laundering was introduced in 1998. The Internet is home to many Brazilian hackers.[13] Online hate speech, heavily punished by Brazilian law, is difficult for officers to catch. Land crimes are a problem.[14]

A continuing problem is the human rights violations during capture and custody of suspects.[15] On the other hand, criminal charges have been described as very easy, allowing violent criminals an early return to society.[16] The justice system is slow. This is largely because of loopholes that allow for numerous appeals.[17] According to the U.S. Department of State, a majority of crimes are not solved.[18]

Express kidnappings, where individuals are taken and forced to withdraw money from automated teller machines, are common in major cities including Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Brasília, Curitiba, Porto Alegre, Salvador and Recife.[19] Petty crimes such as pickpocketing and bag snatching are common. Thieves work in outdoor markets, in hotels and on public transport.

Organized crime is a serious problem in Brazil. It is well established in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Organizations include: Comando Vermelho, Amigos dos Amigos, Terceiro Comando Puro, and Primeiro Comando da Capital. There are groups of Punks and Skinheads in São Paulo and Curitiba.

Police brutality and corruption are widespread.[20][21]

Militias[change | change source]

In some areas, current and former members of the police have formed vigilante gangs. These gangs say they are protecting people but are widely thought to be dangerous criminal gangs. They chase out or kill local drug dealers. They then use protection rackets and tax local businesses of all kinds. Rio de Janeiro "militias" have been responsible for murders of journalists and a judge. Areas under "militia" control tend to see a drop in murder rates but a rise in other forms of violent crime.[22]

Efforts to combat crime[change | change source]

The National Security Force[change | change source]

The National Public Security Force (NPSF) was started in June 2004 by the Ministry of Justice. They are to act in emergency situations. It brings together the best police states and the Federal Police.

BOPE[change | change source]

BOPE (Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais, or Special Police Operations Battalion), is the elite group of the Military Police. Their missions are: Break barricades made by drug traffickers; get out police officers or civilians injured in fighting; serve high-risk arrest warrants; hostage rescues; stop prison rebellions; and conduct special missions in rough terrain such as swamps or mountainous areas.

References[change | change source]