By Xiu Ying, Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – The number of deaths by police on duty grew by 17 percent in the first quadrimester of the year in the state of São Paulo, according to data from the Corrections Department of the Civil and State Police, analyzed by the “Sou da Paz” Institute.
Meanwhile, deaths committed by policemen on leave fell by 29 percent. When the two situations are combined, police lethality grew 7 percent in the first four months of 2019.
From January to April, 252 people were killed by police officers on duty, compared to 216 in 2018. On April 4th, a police operation in Guararema, greater São Paulo, ended with 11 suspected robbers killed.
In a note, the Secretariat of Public Security (SSP) “defends the rigorous investigation of all occurrences and has worked to reduce the number of deaths resulting from police intervention”.
On the other hand, the number of police officers killed fell by 65 percent in the same period: there were eight deaths, versus 23 in 2018.
Therefore, the ratio of civilians killed for every dead police officer in the state increased to 36:1, more than what is considered reasonable by experts, for whom a ratio above 15:1 may suggest that lethal force has been used for purposes other than the preservation of life.
Considering deaths by on-duty police alone, the result was worse, leaving 50 civilians dead for each police officer killed.
At the same time, as police lethality increased, other violent and property crimes decreased.
In the first four months of the year, 98,769 robberies (including car thefts) were recorded in the state, a 10 percent drop against the first four months of 2018, when 109,279 robberies occurred.
The number of weapons seized also fell between January and April 2019: 4,477, against 4,701 in the first four months of 2018, a decrease of five percent.
According to “Sou da Paz”, arrests and apprehensions in the act are further indicators of police productivity that can be analyzed in parallel to the number of deaths in police confrontations.
In the first four months of 2019, 47,969 adolescents and adults were arrested in the state, compared to 48,927 over the same period in the previous year (-2 percent).
In other words, there was one death for every 165 detainees in the first four months of 2019 compared to one death for every 181 detainees in the first four months of 2018.