By Lucy Jordan, Contributing Reporter
BRASÍLIA, BRAZIL – São Paulo is experiencing a wave of violent crime, according to government data released Wednesday, with increased incidence of murders, robberies and rape in the first six months of the year. There were 622 victims of homicide over the first six months of 2012 in the city of São Paulo, an increase of 21 percent compared to the same period in 2011, Folha reported. Statewide, the climb was nine percent.
Armed robberies were up six percent throughout the state and eight percent in the capital, to a rate of 319 per day. Robberies and thefts from vehicles increased 23 percent in the capital and nineteen percent across the state, and there were 966 cases of rape statewide, a jump of eighteen percent.
In an interview with Folha, Marcos Carneiro Lima, the delegate general of the Civil Police, attributed the increase in homicides to “herd behavior,” and criminals taking advantage of the wave of violence to settle scores.
According to the report, Lima also explained the rising property crimes were a result of Brazilian’s wealth increasing, making home robberies more profitable. He said that organized crime was largely responsible for vehicle robberies and thefts.
“This is not something new, but has intensified because it is very profitable. This affects even the insurance industry,” he told Folha.
São Paulo, which is the country’s financial center, was recently shaken by the murder of Tomasso Lotto, a 26-year-old Italian economist, during an attempted robbery. On Monday, the Secretary of Public Security, Antonio Ferreira Pinto, called Lotto’s death part of “an escalation of violence.”
Statewide, June was the most violent period since the administration of Geraldo Alckmin of the Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira (Brazilian Social Democracy Party, PSDB) began to publish monthly data on crime eighteen months ago, Folha reported. São Paulo state saw an average of fourteen deaths per day compared to ten per day last year.
That month also saw the deaths of eight police officers, whose killings are suspected to be connected with the criminal group Premiero Comando da Capital (First Command of the Capital). In the same period, five police bases were attacked and 15 buses were set alight, Folha reported.
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