By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – In 2012, five people were killed by firearms every hour in Brazil, according to a study conducted by UNESCO, FLACSO (Latin American Social Sciences Institute) and the Brazilian government. The Mapa da Violência 2015 (Map of Violence 2015) released on Wednesday shows that in all more than 42,400 thousand lives were lost that year due to firearms.

Guns apprehended in Rio's Complexo do Alemão Favela, photo by Marcello Casal/Agencia Brasil.
Guns apprehended in Rio’s Complexo do Alemão Favela, photo by Marcello Casal/Agencia Brasil.

Of those, 94.5 percent due to homicides, and it represents the largest number of deaths by gun-related incidents since 1980. While crime statistics show varied results in Brazil, from increased robberies in the São Paulo state to decreased homicides in Rio’s UPP occupied favela communities, this racial indicator is striking.

According to the survey that the number of deaths from firearms surged by 387 percent from 1980 to 2012, while the population rate only grew by 61 percent.

The rate of deaths in Brazil as a result of firearms was 21.9 per 100,000 inhabitants. This rate, according to UNESCO places Brazil in the 11th position among the ninety countries analyzed, behind countries such as Venezuela, Colombia and Iraq.

The main victims of this type of death are blacks, according to the study. The report shows that while the rates of homicide by firearms between 2003 and 2012 fell from 14.5 to 11.8 for every 100,000 in the white population, in the black population it increased from 24.9 to 28.5 for every 100,000 persons.

The study shows that of the over 39,000 victims who died from firearms in 2012, almost 29,000 were black, with blacks being 2.5 times more likely to die from firearms than whites in Brazil.

For Sociologist Julio Jacobo Waiselfisz, author of the study, the higher rate of black victims is associated to a lack of public policies for the protection of that part of the population.

“These are young, poor blacks, living in the outskirts of large cities, subject to the arbitrariness of police, stray bullets between drug dealers, with little work alternatives,” he told Agencia Brasil.


  1. Should we understand from this report that mixed race Brazilians are untouched by gun crime? Or have the authors decided unilaterally that all Brazilians who are not white, are automatically ‘black’? Too bad indigenous, mestiço, mulato and nisei: you don’t exist (according to this pseudo-academic ‘study’).


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

ten + ten =