By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Recent and ongoing reports have illustrated the high number of people killed by police in Brazil, and the fact that many deaths go unreported as some states do not even keep a record. Another concern in the Brazilian security situation however is the high number of police that are killed, especially while off duty.
In 2014, on average six people died each day in Brazil through involvement of the military police, totaling in 2,368 deaths in 22 states according to data collected by G1 from the Secretaries of Public Security. The states of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro lead the statistics with the most deaths.
On the other hand, 132 policemen died in 2014 while working, with Bahia and Mato Grosso registering the most police deaths and in Rio de Janeiro, sixteen military police died in service in 2014. By comparison in the United States, which has a population fifty percent larger than Brazil, a police organization reported 134 deaths during the line of duty.
In addition to this high number of police deaths in Brazil, a new study was released yesterday (July 30th) indicating seven out of ten public safety professionals from across Brazil say they have had a colleague murdered while off-duty.
The research is part of the study, which surveyed 10,323 agents of various states, for the Victimization Risk Professionals of the Public Security System, prepared by the Fundação Getulio Vargas(FGV) and the National Secretariat of Public Security of the Ministry of Justice.
The study included military police, civil, federal, federal highway, city police officers and firefighters from all states. According to the executive director of the Brazilian Forum on Public Security, Samira Bueno, research will be important to show the risks involved in the work of security professionals and can help formulate prevention and protection of police policies.
According to Samira Bueno, there is a culture in Brazil to investigate the deaths caused by the police, but the cases of “victimization suffered by the police” are little known. Bueno said that while police have the mission of protecting society, they “also need security.”
The number of victims is even greater when analyzing only the military police: 77.5 percent. The percentage of all security professionals who lost a colleague during working hours is 61.9 percent.
The survey also reveals that the fear of violence and retaliation influences the routine and habits of agents. Almost half (44.3 percent) hide the uniform or badge on the commute between home and the workplace, and 35.2 percent hide the fact that they are public safety professionals.
In addition, 61.8 percent avoid using public transport. “They have to hide their profession because of the risks they run, when they should show it with pride,” Samira said.