A murder victim in Brazil

New figures show that violence is rising across Brazil. But the country's deteriorating security situation has hit the north particularly hard, providing a snapshot of factors driving high murder rates in the country.

Brazil witnessed a 6.8 percent increase in its national homicide rate in the first six months of 2017 compared to the same period last year, Estadão reported on August 21. The country recorded more than 28,000 murders in the first half of the year -- an average of more than 150 each day.

Brazil's second-largest city, Rio de Janeiro, has garnered significant media attention in recent months due to growing insecurity there.

Indeed, the figures published by Estadão show Rio saw a 14 percent increase in its homicide rate since last year. And this year has also seen record-breaking incidents of theft of both people and cargo, according to information shared with InSight Crime by Amarante International, a private security and risk analysis company. The firm also notes that budget crises in both the state and the city of Rio de Janeiro have contributed to cuts in police presence.

However, data from Estadão shows that Brazil's northeastern states have suffered even greater increases in homicides. Pernambuco, Ceará and Rio Grande do Norte respectively witnessed a 38 percent, 32 percent and 26 percent rise in murders compared to last year. Experts cited by the Brazilian news outlet pointed to cuts in socioeconomic development programs, driven by the country's broader economic slowdown, as well as an intensification of drug-related violence to explain the rise.

InSight Crime Analysis

The geographic breakdown of trends in violence in Brazil provided by Estadão highlights how criminal dynamics are an important factor driving homicides in the country.

It comes as little surprise that northern states have seen higher increases in violence than their southern neighbors. A broken truce between the country's two most powerful gangs, the Red Command (Comando Vermelho) and the First Capital Command (Primeiro Comando da Capital - PCC), led to a war that saw a wave of prison violence rock northern states like Rio Grande do Norte earlier this year. Competition over lucrative drug trafficking routes that run through Brazil's largely rural north may be another factor behind the violence.

SEE ALSO: Brazil News and Profile

And in Rio, a flawed security policy -- illustrated by a growing number of killings by security forces as well as killings of security forces -- has provided fertile ground for new and deadly turf wars between the many powerful gangs operating in the Rio de Janeiro, according to Amarante International.

Investigations

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
Prev Next

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

  The Bajo Cauca Franchise BACRIM-Land Armed Power Dynamics The BACRIM in places like the region of Bajo Cauca are a typical manifestation of Colombia's underworld today: a semi-autonomous local cell that is part of a powerful national network.

Counting Firearms in Honduras

Counting Firearms in Honduras

Estimates vary widely as to how many legal and illegal weapons are circulating in Honduras. There are many reasons for this. The government does not have a centralized database that tracks arms seizures, purchases, sales and other matters concerning arms possession, availability and merchandising. The laws surrounding...

Trafficking Firearms in Honduras

Trafficking Firearms in Honduras

The weapons trade within Honduras is difficult to monitor. This is largely because the military, the country's sole importer, and the Armory, the sole salesmen of weapons, do not release information to the public. The lack of transparency extends to private security companies, which do not have...

Homicides in Guatemala: Introduction, Methodology, and Major Findings

Homicides in Guatemala: Introduction, Methodology, and Major Findings

When violence surged in early 2015 in Guatemala, then-President Otto Pérez Molina knew how to handle the situation: Blame the street gangs. 

Closing the Gaps on Firearms Trafficking in Honduras

Closing the Gaps on Firearms Trafficking in Honduras

As set out in this report, the legal structure around Honduras' arms trade is deeply flawed. The legislation is inconsistent and unclear as to the roles of different institutions, while the regulatory system is insufficiently funded, anachronistic and administered by officials who are overworked or susceptible to...

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

The department of Nariño in southwest Colombia is the main coca-producing area in the country and in the world. It is a place scarred by poverty and years of armed conflict between guerrillas, the state and paramilitary groups. Perhaps nowhere else in the country are the challenges...

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

  Life of a Sicario Anatomy of a Hit   The BACRIM's control over territories such as the north Colombian region of Bajo Cauca comes at the point of a gun, and death is a constant price of their power.

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

  Drugs Extortion Criminal Cash Flows Millions of dollars in dirty money circulate constantly around Bajo Cauca, flowing upwards and outwards from a broad range of criminal activities. The BACRIM are the chief regulators and beneficiaries of this shadow economy.

Trafficking Firearms Into Honduras

Trafficking Firearms Into Honduras

Honduras does not produce weapons,[1] but weapons are trafficked into the country in numerous ways. These vary depending on weapon availability in neighboring countries, demand in Honduras, government controls and other factors. They do not appear to obey a single strategic logic, other than that of evading...