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By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – According to a recent report by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) violence costs in Brazil were one of the highest recorded in the Southern Cone of South America, with most of the spending towards combating violence going to private security.

Military Police officers surround the entrance of the Legislative Assembly of Rio de Janeiro, photo by Tânia Rêgo/Agência Brasil.

“[Brazil] is the country with the highest costs of crime in nominal terms. Violence accounted for US$76,068 million in losses to the country in 2014 in a conservative scenario, representing 53 percent of the total cost of crime in Latin America and Caribbean and 78 percent in the Southern Cone,” said the IDB Report The Costs of Crime and Violence, released on Friday, February 3rd.

The amount spent in Brazil due to in relation to its GDP (2.47 percent) was only lower than that of Honduras (5.84 percent), El Salvador (5.46 percent), Bahamas (4.16 percent) and Jamaica 3.64 percent). In Latin America as a whole, including the Caribbean, IDB estimates that an average US$143 billion was spent in combating and/or as a consequence to violence in 2014.

According to IDB, in 2014, 48 percent of the total cost of crime in Brazil was due to private spending on security.

“Brazil stands out because of its high spending on private security, which can be understood as an indication of the population’s feeling about the security service provided by the government,” said the entity.

While the population spends a great deal of money in private security, the government spends more on violence and crime than in some social programs.

“The costs of crime in Brazil are six times more than what is spent on social programs in Brazil (Bolsa Familia), which account for approximately 0.5 percent of [Brazil’s] GDP,” concludes the report.

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