By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Data released yesterday (August 14th) by the Institute of Public Security (ISP) and the Secretary of State for Security (SESEG) shows that in July 2018 theft has decreased, but homicides – especially those killed by police – have risen.

An ISP report shows that in July 2018, someone died every six hours from confrontations with Rio police, a number double that of July 2017, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Brazil News
An ISP report shows that in July 2018, someone died every six hours from confrontations with Rio police, a number double that of July 2017, photo by Tomaz Silva/Agência Brasil.

The report shows that in the state Rio de Janeiro, the total number of violent deaths have increased from 461 cases in July 2017, to 552 cases in July of this year. Of these, homicides rose from 374 cases in July 2017 to 408 cases in July 2018.

There were also increases in deaths resulting from police conflicts, from 63 cases in July last year, jumping up to 129 cases this past July. That translates to over three per day, every six hours a suspect dies at the hands of police.

The increase may not be a surprise, as a different report released last month from the Popular Truth Commision (CPV) showed shootings in Rio between February and June climbed to 4,005, up 37 percent from the previous five month period.

The ISP homicide numbers are roughly on par with last year. The total reported violent deaths in Rio for 2017 was 6,731, which was a 7.5 percent increase from 2016.

Other disturbing news from the new ISP report showed there was also a high number of rapes in the state. There were 374 cases registered in police stations in July 2017, which went to 408 cases in July of this year.

Police training, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Brazil News
Rio’s Military Police in Complexo da Maré, photo by André Gomes de Melo/Imprensa RJ.

There was some encouraging ISP data though, according to the report robberies against property fell across the state. In July, compared to the same month last year, total thefts dropped from 21,848 in July 2017 to 18,246 in July of this year.

The total number of pedestrian robberies was reduced from 8,567 in July last year to 7,500 in July of this year. Cell phone theft dropped from 2,468 in July 2017 to 2,202 in July this year. Cargo theft also declined sharply, falling from 908 cases in July 2017 to 731 cases in July 2018.

Even theft of vehicles – the segment that makes Rio auto insurance one of the most expensive in the country – saw a reduction. It fell from 4,951 cases in July 2017 to 3,518 cases in July of this year.

Julia Michaels, an American expatriate, author and the journalist behind Rio Real Blog lives in Rio and shared, “Perhaps it’s easier to do something about cargo theft than it is to reduce homicides. But I have a sneaking suspicion, sorry to say, that the stats show the priorities of those in charge in Rio.”

Michaels is working on a new book, and adds, “For my book I have been looking into Rio politics and found that in fact it’s all about a web of collusion among big companies and politicians. Nothing more. So the stats make sense, tragically.”

The complete ISP report data can be accessed on the Institute of Public Security’s website, through the statistical tables, by selecting the desired period.

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