Crime in Brazil

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Detention in Brasília.
A homicide victim in Rio de Janeiro. About 5.2000 people are murdered anually in Brazil.[1]
Police station of the Rio de Janeiro state police.

Crime in Brazil has had an increase in violent and non-violent crimes.[2] 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.[3]

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.[4] Drugs are responsible for 85,000 of the total.[5]

It is believed that most life-threatening crime in Brazil is linked to drug trade and alcoholism.[6][7] Brazil is a heavy importer of cocaine. It is part of the international drug route.[8] Arms and marijuana used by criminals are mostly locally produced.[8][9]

New laws have stricter punishment for domestic abuse and driving under the influence.[10][11] 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 the surrounding continent[12] Crime rates change greatly across the country, with a higher amount in metropolitan suburbs and in border zones.[13]

The crime of money laundering was introduced in 1998. The Internet is home to many Brazilian hackers.[14] Online hate speech, heavily punished by Brazilian law, is difficult for officers to catch. Land crimes are a problem.[15]

A continuing problem is the human rights violations during capture and custody of suspects.[16] On the other hand, criminal charges have been described as very easy, allowing violent criminals an early return to society.[17] The justice system is slow. This is largely because of loopholes that allow for numerous appeals.[18] According to the U.S. Department of State, a majority of crimes are not solved.[19]

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.[20] 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. The illegal drug trade is large. In 2021, at least 25 people were killed in a shootout between police and a gang of drug dealers.

Police brutality and corruption are widespread.[21][22]

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.[23]

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.. They chase out or kill local drug dealers

References[change | change source]

  1. "Homicídios no Brasil – da punição à prevenção" (in Portuguese). 2011-08-23. Retrieved 2011-08-11.
  2. Crime in Brazil
  3. "Óbitos por Causas Externas 1996 a 2010" (in Portuguese). DATASUS. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
  4. Number of people incarcerated in Brazil - 2010
  5. Drugs and Incarcerated People in Brazil
  6. "Drug in Brazil". Archived from the original on 2007-02-14. Retrieved 2012-10-31.
  7. Drug in Brazil
  8. 8.0 8.1 [1]
  10. Maria da Penha law
  11. [2]
  12. Slavery in Brazil today
  13. "Situation of Metropolitan suburbs in Brazil". Archived from the original on 2012-02-27. Retrieved 2012-10-31.
  14. Gibb, Tom (2004-09-14). "Brazil is world 'hacking capital'". BBC News. Retrieved 2010-04-30.
  15. Land crime
  16. Human rights violations
  17. "Problem of Justice". Archived from the original on 2012-02-17. Retrieved 2012-10-31.
  18. Justice system in Brazil
  19. Brazil - Country Specific Information - Bureau of Consular Affairs
  20. Travel Report for Brazil
  21. Human Rights Report "Police brutality in urban Brazil" retrieved 2007-08-24
  22. Amnesty International "Violence in Brazil" retrieved 2007-08-24
  23. BBC News - Brazil police arrest Rio lawmaker for paramilitary ties