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Brazil murders rise sharply over 3 decades

July 18, 2013

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — The murder rate in Brazil has more than doubled over the past three decades, a new report said Thursday.

Prepared by the nonprofit Center for Latin American Studies in Rio de Janeiro, the “2013 Map of Violence” report said that in 2011 the murder rate in Brazil was 27.4 per 100,000 inhabitants, or 132 percent higher than the 11.7 per 100,000 registered in 1980.

It also said that between 1980 and 2011, 1.2 million people were murdered in Brazil, nearly 39 percent of them youths aged 14 to 24.

The report draws on statistics from Brazil’s Health Ministry as well as from the Global Burden of Armed Violence reports issued by the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development, an international organization that regularly tracks such figures for countries worldwide.

Tiao Santos, of the directors of Viva Rio, a Rio de Janeiro-based group that elaborates crime-reduction projects, called the increase “shocking.”

The statistics “show that crime has migrated from large capital cities and urban centers — traditionally the most violent— to small- and medium-sized cities and towns,” he said.

Santos said he believes that drug trafficking and the large number of firearms circulating in Brazil helps explain Brazil’s rising crime rate. He called Brazil “one of the most heavily armed countries in the world,” with more than half of the 15 million firearms in the country illegal and unregistered.

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