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By Sarah de Sainte Croix, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – A new report released yesterday shows that since 1980, murder rates in Brazil have more than doubled. Over one million violent deaths were recorded in the country in the last thirty years – the equivalent of wiping out the entire populations of Fiji, Quatar or Montengro, and more besides.

Mapa da Violência 2012 Report details murder rates in Brazil
Mapa da Violência 2012 Report details murder rates in Brazil, image by Instituto Sangari.

The report, produced by the Sangari Institute and entitled the Map of Violence 2012 (Mapa da Violência), shows that the number of murders in Brazil increased from 13,900 in 1980 to 49,900 in 2010, representing a rise of 259 percent.

Taking into consideration the rise in population levels in the last 30 years, this represents an actual increase from 11.7 per 100,000 people in 1980, to 26.2 per 100,000 in 2010.

With a murder rate averaging almost four Brazilians per hour over the last thirty years, the report comments,

“It is difficult to understand how, in a country without religious, ethnic or racial conflicts, without disputes over territory or borders, and without civil war or violent political confrontations, [Brazil] has managed to exterminate more of its own citizens than the number of people who have died in recent armed conflicts around the world.”

The report states that between 2004 and 2007, 169,500 people were killed in 12 major conflicts worldwide, while in Brazil, the number of homicides during the same period topped 192,800.

However, it is not all bad news. The report also indicates that homicide rates have been steadily falling for the last five years, culminating in a total decrease of 0.5 percent between 2006 and 2010 in the country as whole.

The rate for Rio de Janeiro metropolitan area is even more promising, showing a decrease of 47 percent over the same period, from 50.3 homicides per 100,000 population in 2006, to 26.7 per 100,000 in 2010.

Read more (in Portuguese).

* The Rio Times Daily Update is a new feature we are offering to help keep you up-to-date with major news as it happens.

Correction: December 15, 2011
The article was first published indicating a higher murder rate in Brazil because of a comma used rather than a decimal point.

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  1. Since you are writing in English I will assume you are using commas the way an English writer would. Thus, I believe you have incorrectly represented the statistics. You probably meant to write that the murder rate in 2010 is 26.2 per 100,000 of population and not 26,200 (and in 1980 11.7/100,000, not 11,700). Doubtful that more than a quarter of the entire population of Brasil was murdered in 2010.

  2. “The report also indicates that homicide rates have been steadily falling for the last five years, culminating in a total decrease of 0.5 percent between 2006 and 2010 in the country as whole”

    Are you sure you don’t mean the murder rate has been steadily *increasing* for the last five years? Because apart from a sudden drop in 2007 which was quickly reversed the next year, that’s exactly what’s happened. Looks like you have it back to front Sarah.

    The 2010 data (at a preliminary stage in the report) was recently finalised by DATASUS at *52,260* murders – a rate of *27.4*. I realise this is an old report but I hope you print my comment.

    Best wishes.

  3. It’s sad to see that a country with so much economic prosperity failed to provide peace and safety for its citizens. I decided to leave Brazil after a family member was murdered in front of his house. I’ve been mugged twice and my house was broke three times, even with expensive alarm systems, electric fence, barbed wire and vigilance in the neighborhood. All of my friends back there have been victims of the violence in different levels. Crime is everywhere and I can’t see a solution in short-term.

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