Sï¿½O PAULO - With an average of 14 murders a day over the past 18 months, the southeastern Brazilian state of Sï¿½o Paulo has a bona fide violence problem. In the first six months of the year, the number of homicides was 8% higher across the region than the first six months of 2011.
And notably in the city of Sï¿½o Paulo, the state capital and the largest city in South America with a population of 11 million, the murder rate rose by 22%. In June alone, 434 people were murdered, the highest total of the past year.
Criminality in general is on the rise. There were 18% more rapes than last year, representing 966 more cases.
Last week, when talking about the murder of Tommaso Lotto, a young Italian man looking for work in Sï¿½o Paulo, the state Secretary of Public Security, Antonio Ferreira Pinto, talked about a ï¿½rising tide of violence.ï¿½ Meanwhile, the state Governor Geraldo Alckmin assured his constituents that he had no doubt that this crime wave would soon be over.
During the month of June, eight off-duty police officials were slain in what authorities believe is a concerted campaign by the PCC (First Command of the Capital), a criminal organization and prison gang well known in Sï¿½o Paulo for drug dealing and other crimes. Five police bases and 15 buses were also burned. In 2006 the PCC was allegedly behind a wave of 299 attacks against police stations, public offices and buses.
The rise in homicide rate also affects 38 towns, which are part of Sï¿½o Pauloï¿½s metropolitan area. In these towns, there were 55% more people killed in June this year than in June 2011.
Read the article in Portuguese.
Photo - alexandre_vieira