HomeNewsBriefKillings by Off Duty São Paulo Police Hits 10 Year High
BRIEF

Killings by Off Duty São Paulo Police Hits 10 Year High

BRAZIL / 25 SEP 2013 BY CHARLES PARKINSON EN

Off-duty military police in São Paulo killed more people in the first seven months of 2013 than in the same period of any year over the past decade, in a rise likely linked to a bloody war with Brazil's biggest gang.

According to an investigation by Folha de São Paulo, the killing of 129 people between January and July this year represents a 52 percent increase on the 85 killed up to July 2012. However, on-duty killings have seen a steep decline, with 290 occurring up to July 2012, compared to 172 this year.

Overall this accounts for an almost 20 percent decline in total killings perpetrated by military police (PM), while the number of PM officers killed has dropped by a third -- from 42 up to July 2012 to 28 during the same period this year.  

PM Commander Benedito Meira blamed the increase in off-duty killings on "bolder" criminals, telling Folha de São Paulo, "these deaths occur in the context of increased property crime," adding "a PM has a duty to react, even when off duty."

According to experts consulted by the newspaper, the rise in off-duty killings is likely the result of two factors: the continuation of a bloody war with Brazil's notorious First Capital Command (PCC) gang, which erupted last year; and increased restrictions on what actions officers can take while on duty.brazom

Source: Folha de S.Paulo

InSight Crime Analysis

Brazil's PM are part of a dual policing system at the state level, alongside civil police. Across the country, the PM number approximately 400,000 officers -- compared to 123,000 civil police -- and are responsible for enforcing public order.

The PM have a reputation for brutality and a long history of corruption and extrajudicial killings, so the suggestion that rising off-duty killings carried out by them are the result of a spike in property crime seem fanciful. Current and former police are also involved in militia groups, which began in Rio de Janeiro as vigilante organizations but involved into criminal structures involved in activities such as extortion and assassinations.

SEE ALSO: Brazil News and Profiles 

As suggested, the rise is killings is more likely linked to the bloody tit-for-tat war between the PM and the PCC, which began after jailed gang leaders were transferred to facilities hundreds of miles from São Paulo. The city was gripped by a wave of murders as gangs targeted police and police responded with revenge killings, and it is likely the fallout from the clashes continued in the first part of this year. 

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

HOMICIDES / 26 APR 2019

Red Cross aid workers in Mexico have been forced to accept armed security details following a series of attacks from…

BRAZIL / 28 AUG 2017

A new report says that Brazil's largest and most powerful criminal organization is planning a spate of attacks against…

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 25 NOV 2014

Endemic gun violence in Latin America and the Caribbean at times produces unintended -- and fatal -- consequences for victims…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Combating Environmental Crime in Colombia

15 JUN 2021

InSight Crime presented findings from an investigation into the main criminal activities fueling environmental destruction in Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Collaborating on Citizen Security Initiatives

8 JUN 2021

Co-director Steven Dudley worked with Chemonics, a DC-based development firm, to analyze the organization’s citizen security programs in Mexico.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Deepens Its Connections with Universities

31 MAY 2021

A partnership with the University for Peace will complement InSight Crime’s research methodology and expertise on Costa Rica.

THE ORGANIZATION

With Support from USAID, InSight Crime Will Investigate Organized Crime in Haiti

31 MAY 2021

The project will seek to map out Haiti's principal criminal economies, profile the specific groups and actors, and detail their links to elements of the state.

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.