The battle against crime shows its first resultsIn 2021, Brazil experienced its lowest intentional violent death rates in over a decade. In comparison to four years before, when the South American country reported its most murderous year in history, this sudden drop may appear shocking at first glance. However, the decline of crime can be attributed to a series of factors, including a drop in the young, male population as well as several national, state, and municipal security policies put into place in recent years. Another major factor was a negotiated peace between Brazil’s two main drug trafficking organizations, the First Capital Command (PCC) and the Red Command (CV), which led to a reversal to the ever increasing homicide rates in Brazil’s North and Northeast regions – even though states in these two areas remain among the highest rates in the country.
Violence with a racial and gender profileAlthough “Black Lives Matters” protests in the U.S. made global news in the first months of 2020, cases like that of George Floyd have unfortunately also been a part of the daily life of Brazilians for years. Nearly seven out of every ten homicides reported in the South American country have black victims. In fact, while the homicide rate of non-blacks decreased by nearly 35 percent between 2006 and 2019, the homicide rate of persons of color increased by more than 30 percent until 2017, only to fall slightly in the two following years, and showing that racial bias in law enforcement is not restricted to America.
In contrast, while the majority of homicide victims in the Portuguese-speaking country are men, sexual violence is still mostly directed at women. In 2021, over 88 percent of reported rape cases in Brazil had female victims. Often times, this burden falls on the weakest individuals in society: young girls. Out of the rape cases reported during the same year, roughly 60 percent of victims hadn’t reached their fourteenth birthday, while around 16 percent were aged between 14 and 17 years old. And regardless of the decrease in homicides between 2018 and 2021, the year 2019 had the highest number of rape cases in the decade, with over 69 thousand occurrences reported to authorities, demonstrating the urgent need to improve efforts in battling violence against women.