By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Just released data from Rio de Janeiro’s Instituto de Segurança Publica – ISP (Public Security Institute) comparing the state’s crime statistics of October 2017 to October 2016 revealed a mixed bag with sharp increases seen in car and cell phone theft, a nominal increase in homicides, and reductions in street robberies and robberies overall.

Rio de Janeiro police reduce homicides, Brazil, Brazil News
Latest ISP report showed increases in car and cell phone thefts, but decreases in street robberies and robberies overall, photo by Andre Gomes de Melo/IMPRENSA RJ.

According to the latest survey, motor vehicle theft showed the biggest increase in Rio de Janeiro last month. Through October, the state registered 45,681 stolen vehicles for the year. That figure amounts to approximately 150 vehicles stolen per day or about one every ten minutes.

The figure also represents a 37 percent increase over the same January to October period of 2016.

The sharp increase has even caused at least one insurance company, BNP Paribas Cardif, to temporarily suspend offering car insurance for vehicles registered in Rio de Janeiro due to the rash of car thefts in the state.

Henrique Brandão, president of Rio’s Insurance Agents and Brokers Union (Sincor-RJ) told Globo news that for many insurance agents, selling motor vehicle policies in certain neighborhoods in Rio is a losing proposition.

“There are certain places where the loss ratio is almost ten percent (equivalent to one car stolen for every ten insured),” he exclaimed. “[T]his number varies, but it is a fact that the car insurance operation in Rio is losing money.”

The second largest increase in October was seen in mobile phone theft. According to the ISP data, there were 2,248 cases of cell phone theft in Rio in October. This number outpaces October 2016 by 301 cases amounting to a fifteen percent increase over last year.

Homicides in October of this year showed a slight increase compared to October of last year, going from 589 in October 2016 to 600 in October 2017, a nominal increase of 1.9 percent.

Interestingly, while cell phone thefts increased last month, street robberies (the sum of all robberies occurring on the street, including cell phones) actually decreased in October. The ISP registered 10,908 robberies last month, a decrease of twelve percent over October 2016 when there were 12,430 robberies registered.

Also, taken as a whole, robberies overall decreased four percent in October with the total robberies in the month amounting to 19,451. In October 2016, there were a total of 20,225 robberies in the state.

Despite some of the decreases in certain robbery indicators, high profile incidents continue to dominate the local news. Just this past Thursday (November 23rd), the U.S. Vice Consul and her husband were shot in an attempted robbery as the two stopped their car on the shoulder of the Rio-Santos highway near Angra dos Reis, in the southern region of Rio de Janeiro state.

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