By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Brazilian Public Security Forum released data on violent deaths in the country on Thursday which shows that 63,880 violent deaths were recorded in the country last year alone, the equivalent of 175 homicides per day.

Brazil,Protest earlier this year in Copacabana beach to remember children who were victims of violent deaths in Rio
Protest earlier this year in Copacabana beach to remember children who were victims of violent deaths in Rio, photo by Fernando Frazão/Agência Brasil.

This is the largest number of violent deaths recorded in the country’s recent history and an increase of 2.9 percent from 2016.

Violence in large Brazilian cities has become so common that many people have already developed ‘strategies’ to avoid being victims. “I witnessed a mugging last year conducted by two people on a motorcycle,” tells chef Karla Capes, who was born in a little town in Rio Grande do Sul, but has lived in Rio’s Zona Sul for the past fourteen years.

“The lady fell and hit her head; was bleeding on the sidewalk and they still stopped the motorcycle and took her purse. She could have died. Now, whenever I see two on a motorcycle I try to get as far away from the street as possible so I’m not an easy target,” concludes the chef.

The data released by the Forum is part of its Annual Public Security Yearbook and shows, among other things that the poorest states in the country register the largest number of violent deaths.

The Northeastern state of Rio Grande do Norte (68) recorded the highest rate of violent deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, 68, followed by the states of Acre (63.9) and Ceará (59.1), while the lowest rates were found in the most prosperous states such as São Paulo (10.7), and Santa Catarina (16.5).

The yearbook also shows that the number of police officers killed in 2017 decreased by 4.9 percent in comparison to the previous year, to 367. On the other hand, the number of people killed by law officials increased by 20 percent, with an enormous 5,144 deaths in 2017.

And on the week that the Maria da Penha law on domestic abuse completed twelve years, the Forum revealed that 221,238 cases of domestic violence were registered last year, an average of 606 per day.

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