Brazil in a murder spree

Brazil can’t catch a break. Problems in politics, corruption, zika are current and a new report the Center for Public Security And Criminal Justice out this month shows plenty of Brazilian cities dominating a list of the 50 murder capitals of the world.

The report by Mexico City based Center for Public Security And Criminal Justice shows that no country in the world has more cities plagued by violent crime than Brazil. Yes, the country is large. But the U.S. is just as big and has just four cities on the list, including some like St. Louis that are more violent than Rio de Janeiro in terms of homicide rates. Mexico, the second largest country in Latin America, has five cities on the list, down from last year’s 12.

In violent crimes Brazil is among the most violent. But there is no competition when it comes to mortal gunshot. Out of the 50 cities with high per capita homicide rates, Brazil has 22 cities on the list. Even clean-and-green Curitiba and homogenous Porto Alegre, both in the South of the country, are on it. The zika virus is well ranked in the World Health Organization warnings list on the run-for-your-life pandemics. And violent crimes in Brazil have a higher rank in the list. And specialists say it’s harder to eradicate violence because it won’t go away with pesticides and booster shots. Reducing homicide rates require a better police force, a stronger public health system equipped to deal with drug addiction, and a better economy. Seeing how most Brazil economists are forecasting the country to get marginally worse this year, rising unemployment and sinking incomes suggest this rates aren’t improving any time soon.

The South America giant statistics put war zones in shame. Local authorities in Mato Grosso, a state famous for being an agriculture and meat production power, reported a rate of 212 daily murders. On the bright side, famous cities such as Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro did not make the list. The Research Center’s president, José Antonio Ortega, said Sao Paulo’s homicide rate was a low, 9.8 per 100,000, which makes it like New York City. Rio was 18.6, which makes it better than Compton, in California.

To make matters worse, the Brazilian police doesn’t tackle the problem properly. Abuse of power and excessive use of force are regular complaints. The unemployed Henrique Mendes lives in Belo Horizonte, southwest of the country, manages to find good humor of the situation. “Probably Ryan Lochte knew about the inefficiency of our police, but he didn’t count the only moment law enforcement would actually work was during the Olympics because everyone was paying attention” Mendes said. And, laughing, he mentioned an interview with the chief of police saying Lochte reported the robber took some money but didn’t steal his iPhone or his watch. “That was just lack of experience, what thieve in the world would let that kind of valuables go unnoticed?”.

The Center for Public Security’s report did not give reasons for the Brazilian crime spree. Most foreigners in attendance for the Olympics already had two popular perceptions of Rio. First, that it is a 24-hours a day Carnaval party. And second, that it is dangerous. The first perception doesn’t meet reality, but statistics show the second is real.

With information from Forbes

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