By Lisa Flueckiger, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Since the beginning of the year, various cases of people hit by stray bullets within the Rio de Janeiro Metropolitan Area have made the headlines, leading to the impression that violence is rising in the city. Within just the last ten days, twelve cases have been reported.
The past weekend, a young woman died in a shootout between the police and drug traffickers in Rocinha, while a teenage girl was brought to the hospital after being hit in Morro do Chapadão in Costa Barros and a teenage boy was shot in the arm, while visiting in Niterói.
Other cases involved rivaling drug factions in the Morro do Juramento community, where two bystanders were hit, and a shooting in the center of São Gonçalo, as well as a little girl playing in front of her house in Centro.
In total, twelve people have been hit by stray bullets in the last ten days and four of them have died.
According to numbers from the Public Safety Institute, ISP, 120 people were hit by stray bullets in 2013. Of those, nine people died. In 2011, 88 victims were recorded with a total of seven fatalities. The numbers for 2014 have not yet been released.
However, as sociologist Ignacio Cano from the UERJ has told O Globo, it is too early to say if Rio has become more violent. “We need to wait. In this month there were several cases, but it is too soon to know what is going on,” he explained.
Meanwhile NGO “Rio de Paz” (A Rio of peace) held a protest at Copacabana beach this Sunday (January 25th) to bring attention to the various cases involving children. According to the organization, fifteen children have died from stray bullets since 2007. Two of them already in 2015.