By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Data released by Rio de Janeiro’s Instituto de Segurança Publica – ISP (Public Security Institute) shows that February of 2017 was one of the most violent months in the state’s history, with violent death rates increasing by 28.1 percent and vehicle thefts by 40.3 percent in relation to February of 2016.

Brazil, Rio de Janeiro,Police confrontations in Rio have led to an increased number of violent deaths in the state in February,
Police confrontations in Rio have led to an increased number of violent deaths in the state in February, photo by Tania Rego/AgBr.

In a press statement released on Tuesday night, the ISP reiterates that it has as a priority ‘the preservation of life, peaceful coexistence and reduction of crime rates in the state’.

The numbers also show that February of this year was also violent when it came to confrontation with police forces. The number of homicides resulting from police action in Rio de Janeiro increased by 71 percent during the month compared to February of last year, with a total of 84 deaths recorded in the month from police action.

The report shows that violent crimes in the state rose from 481 victims in February of 2016 to 616 victims in February of this year, while car thefts increased from 3.056 to 4,287 in the same comparison base.

While thefts and violent deaths increased, the number of arrests and the number of guns apprehended by police decreased. ISP data shows that there was a reduction by 25.9 percent of gun apprehensions during the month.

The data also reveal that police officers made 33.2 percent less arrests in February of 2017 when it came to adults and over 51 percent less arrest when it came to minors when compared to the same time last year.

Police at an outpost in the Complexo da Maré favela in Zona Norte of Rio, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Brazil News
Police at an outpost in the Complexo da Maré favela in Zona Norte of Rio, photo by Fernando Frazão/Agência Brasil.

Jim Kappeler, a long time Rio resident originally from the U.S. shares “I have been here over forty years and have seen a lot of change in security.”

He explains, “In the seventies we did not need security on the beach and elsewhere in Rio compared to today. You could walk up to the front door of most buildings […] there was not such concern about security.”

Julia Michaels, another American expatriate, author and the journalist behind Rio Real Blog lives in Ipanema and told The Rio Times that the sense of a lack in security on the in Rio corresponds with the new crime statistics.

She explains, “Public safety is mainly the responsibility of the Rio state government, which is broke. The pacification program has melted down. Police officers aren’t being paid in full or on time. Public safety policy appears to have reverted to the chaos of pre-pacification days, with police units engaging in shootouts with supposed ‘bandidos’ across the metro region.”

Michaels adds, “And I hear reports that police have been taking things into their own hands. This is all very dangerous. […] The worst security is in peripheral areas, such as favelas. But this spills over into the formal city.”


  1. It is time that the Brazilian Government and Corruption stops! This is the Main Issue the Political so called “Leaders” as the President “Lula, Delma, and far back in time have been taking the money from the Government and this leaves a bad taste in the mouths of the People who are struggling to make ends meet. I think that the ongoing Criminal aspect in Government is seen more and more here in Brazil, time that the Government works “FOR THE PEOPLE, not The People work for the Government, and for that to change you must have a Democracy and begin to secure all funds with a BUDGET that works. If the “Criminal is the Problem” then time to take back the Streets from the Drug Gangs at whatever cost, and let the Police do whatever they need to. First have the Police foot Patrol walk and Talk to the People to show that there not the Bad guy but the good guy wanting to help with the Problems. I can’t understand why there aren’t more RAIDS on the DRUG HOUSES?The gun caring Gangster and why not make a LAW that anyone involved with a WEAPON(Guns, Knifes etc) will receive a Mandatory sentence of 25 years without parole, this would stop the criminals to think if caught
    God Bless Brazil and all the People


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