Brazil’s Murder Rate Finally Fell—and by a Lot

By Robert Muggah

Published on Foreign Policy

One of the world’s most homicidal countries just registered the sharpest overall decline of lethal violence in its history. Brazil’s murder rate dropped by a whopping 13 percent between 2017 and 2018, from more than 59,000 people killed to just over 51,000. And homicides fell by 25 percent in the first two months of 2019 compared with the same period last year. The rapid improvement in public security, unheralded as it may be, is one of the biggest positive news stories in Brazil right now.

Even better, the recent murder decline is nationwide, although some states witnessed greater improvements than others: Alagoas, Acre, Espírito Santo, Minas Gerais, Pernambuco, Rio Grande do Norte, Rio Grande do Sul, and Santa Catarina all saw murder rates fall by between 21 and 24 percent over the past year. Massive states such as Bahia, Ceará, Paraná, and São Paulo registered declines of between 10 and 15 percent. Just four states—Amapá, Pará, Tocantins, and Roraima—saw double-digit increases in lethal violence between 2017 and 2018.

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