By Arkady Petrov
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Brazil recorded a 23 percent drop in violent deaths in the first four months of this year compared to the same period in 2018. This is shown in the national homicide index created by news site G1, based on official data from the 26 states and the Federal District.
In April alone, there were 3,636 murders, compared to 4,541 in the same month last year. In the first four months of the year, there were 14,374 violent deaths — 4,300 fewer than in January, February, March, and April 2018.
The downward trend in homicides in Brazil was expected by the G1 from the balance of the first two months of the year, which showed a reduction of 25 percent over the same period last year, and from the balance of violent deaths in 2018, which showed the steepest decline in the last eleven years in the historical series of the Brazilian Forum of Public Security, at thirteen percent.
However, the figure for murders remains high. In the first four months of 2019, on average, one person was murdered every 12 minutes in Brazil.
The survey is part of the Violence Monitor, a G1 partnership with the Center for the Study of Violence at USP and the Brazilian Forum on Public Safety.
The data shows that:
- there were 4,314 fewer deaths in the first four months of 2019 than in 2018;
- every state in the country showed a reduction in murders in the period;
- in April, only four states recorded a higher number of deaths compared to the same month in 2018: Amapá, Paraná, Piauí, and Tocantins;
- three states recorded drops of over 30 percent in four months: Ceará, Sergipe and Rio Grande do Norte;
- in absolute figures, the state recording the highest decrease was Ceará, with 845 fewer victims in the period.
To better understand what may be behind the downward trend, the G1 closely examined public safety in the three states that stood out for their decrease over 2018: Acre, Ceará, and Rio Grande do Norte. Experts, members, and former members of governments and organizations were consulted to assess the main measures taken in these states, which may have resulted in the decline in violence.
Among the measures adopted are:
- Stricter prison procedures, such as constant search operations and implementation of the Differentiated Disciplinary Regime (RDD);
- Isolation or transfer of heads of criminal groups to maximum security prisons;
- Creation of an exclusive secretariat to deal with penitentiary administration;
- Creation of a police department to investigate homicide cases;
- Integration between security and justice forces.