Brazil shows decline in homicides, but public safety remains a challenge
17 December, 2010 - Reduction in the number of homicides and increase of investments in public safety. The 2010 edition of the statistical Yearbook of the Brazilian NGO Forum on Public Safety indicates that the sector is one of the key points of the Brazilian political agenda and that the country needs to establish mechanisms to ensure sustainability for the sector's policies for the coming years.
According to the Yearbook for the first time since 2004, Brazil registered a decline in the number of intentional killings. Last year there were 43,016 cases of murder. In 2008 the number reached 43,635. The reduction was small, just over 1%, but may show a trend of stagnation of homicides - a breakthrough considering that the index has maintained an increasing trend in recent years.
However, the document alerts to the concentration of homicides by firearms among young people 15 to 29 years. Mortality rates of assault among young people from 15 to 19 years and from 20 to 29 years are higher than the average population rates and the number is increasing, contrary to the national trend of reducing deaths by firearms, which has decreased since 2000.
Another warning addresses the prison system. According to the report, most Brazilian states reported an increase in incarceration rates, indicating the saturation of the criminal justice system in the country and the inability to judge prisoners. The document shows that in Brazil 45% of prisoners await trial. Out of 27 states of the federation, ten have more provisional detainees than convicted. Brazil is also one of the states with most imprisonments in the world, but hasn´t shown decrease in crime rates.
Yearbook data also show that investment by the government at the federal, state and municipal levels have increased. Between 2003 and 2009, public safety spending more than doubled. The Union, States, Federal District and municipalities spent an estimated $ 22.5 billion in public safety in 2003. In 2009 this figure reached more than $ 47,600,000,000.
This continuing trend of increased government spending on public safety shows that the area is part of the country's priorities, however, also requires the government to create funding mechanisms to ensure implementation of security policies.
The Yearbook of the Brazilian Forum on Public Safety is conducted nationwide, makes a comparison of data from 2008 and 2009 and consolidates information on federal, state and Federal District's spending on Public Safety and prisons; crime statistics; Police Forces staff; municipalities performance; data on youth exposure to violence; the Vulnerability Index of Youth Violence (IVJ); and prison population.