By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – According to a new study released on Monday, June 11th, the economic cost of crime to Brazil is estimated to be about R$285 billion, or over four percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. Additionally, the economic impact of crime has risen from R$113 billion in 1996 to R$285 billion in 2015, amounting to an average increase of about 4.5 percent per year.

Brazil, Rio de Janeiro,Despite a few protests, military police officers continue to patrol Rio streets, say officials,
A new government study estimates the cost of crime to Brazil to be about R$285 million, photo by Fernando Frazao/AgBr

The findings were published in a report from Brazil’s Secretaria Especial de Assuntos Estratégicos (Special Secretariat for Strategic Affairs) entitled Custos Econômicos da Criminalidade no Brasil (Economic Costs of Crime in Brazil).

The report asserts that despite a significant increase in public security spending over the last twenty years, “the social return of such increases has been limited” as homicide rates have climbed from 35,000 to 54,000 over that period.

According to the study, the increase in crime shows that public policy initiatives meant to reduce crime can not be based solely on expanding resources. The report recommends a thorough examination of existing policies in order to discontinue those with diminishing returns.

“It is imperative to increase the efficiency of security policies by seeking high-impact, low-cost solutions,” read the report. “Such efficiency gains depend on establishing an evidence-based security policy that demonstrates which types of interventions work.”

The report also points out that most federal agencies currently have limited financial resources, further reinforcing the idea that public policy crime-reducing intiatives can not be based on simply expanding public spending.

“We need to make public policies more efficient with fewer resources and innovation,” said Hussein Kalout, the special secretary for strategic affairs at the report’s unveiling at the Palácio do Planalto.

“It is no longer possible to make security policy by increasing economic spending for the State whose social return will continue to be small while crime continues to increase.”

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