HomeNewsBriefBrazil Govt Faces Up to Spiraling Youth Homicides
BRIEF

Brazil Govt Faces Up to Spiraling Youth Homicides

BRAZIL / 29 JAN 2015 BY LOREN RIESENFELD EN

In Brazil, 42,000 young people -- the majority non-white males -- will die violently between 2013 and 2019, according to a recent study, raising questions about how the country plans to reduce youth violence.

The projection, based on youth murder statistics from 2012, was presented at a January 28 press conference by the Brazilian government, UNICEF, and members of civil society.

“Inequality is reflected in the map of violence,” Brazilian Minister for Human Rights Ideli Salvatti said at the conference. Previous breakdowns of youth murder statistics in the country have shown that they are skewed by race, gender, and income.

SEE ALSO:Brazil News and Profiles

Non-white youths are three times more likely to die violently than white children, boys are almost 12 times more likely to be killed than girls, and much of the increase in homicides is concentrated in the relatively poor northeastern region of the country. In the richer and more densely populated southeast, youth homicides have actually declined.

At the same conference, Salvatti announced the creation of an interagency government working group that will try to create a strategy for reducing youth violence.

InSight Crime Analysis

Deciphering the numbers can sometimes be tricky. Over the ten-year period between 2002 and 2012, youth homicides only went up by 2.7 percent, suggesting a period of relative stability. However, this masks the huge changes in the murder rates within states.

Security initiatives in major cities like Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro contributed to reductions in homicides, while northeastern states saw murders skyrocket. In the state of Rio Grande del Norte, homicides rose by 293.6 percent over the period.

Some reports attribute the rise in violence in Brazil to the growing role of organized crime and the expansion of the drug trade. According to a 2007 article by Der Spiegel, Brazilian gangs employed children to do their dirty work, sometimes giving them drugs to desensitize them to violence. One 11-year old boy said he “felt nothing” after assassinating a rival gang member because he was “too high.”

Other studies, like a 2012 report by think tank FLACSO, showed that drugs and gangs were not the cause of rising murders. Instead, the increase was caused by a “culture of violence” and widespread impunity. 

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

BRAZIL / 15 MAR 2018

It’s been a month since Brazil’s President Michel Temer signed a decree authorizing the military to take control of security…

BRAZIL / 13 JUN 2014

In her most recent post, Rio de Janeiro based journalist and blogger Julia Michaels discusses "Todo dia é segunda-feira," (Everyday is…

BRAZIL / 23 APR 2013

Brazilian authorities have raised the alarm about human smugglers taking advantage of the mass illegal immigration wave into the…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.