Author: Brazil Talk

National Politics, Society, Sustainable Cities

Public safety in NYC and Rio de Janeiro: parallel or poles apart?


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By Caroline Tauk

[7 min read]

New York City is the largest and safest US metropolis[1]. Per capita crime rates have been dropping since the mid-1990s. In 2017, the city recorded its lowest number of homicides since 1950: under 300 murders in a year[2]. As a carioca, it’s difficult to avoid comparing these statistics with Rio de Janeiro, a city notorious for its high criminality rate. In 2016, the city of Rio had 1,909 violent deaths resulting from homicides, robberies and bodily injury followed by death. At the end of 2017, the entire state of Rio saw a record-setting 6,731 violent deaths[3]. It seems that, in terms of public safety, the two cities are polar opposites: a crime rate at record lows on one hand and an alarmingly and increasing high crime rate in the other. The experience exchange between Brazil and the United States in this area is old[4]. However, recent public safety data available at the police departments from the two cities shows that the debate remains as relevant as ever.

It is clear that Rio’s and Brazil’s context is peculiar. Despite a positive economic growth, on average, in the last decade[5], wealth and opportunity inequality is still considerable[6]: in 2017, the richest 10% of the population concentrated 55% of the national income. Add to that political instability and low priority of criminal justice reform. Drug use by Brazilians is growing and much of Brazil’s violence and criminality are linked to organized crime. Further, a disproportionate number of young black men are arrested and prosecuted for diverse crimes: while 53% of the Brazilian population over 15 years declare themselves black, 64% of prisoners are black. Of every 100 homicides in Brazil, 71 are within the black population[7]. Although socio-political factors are somewhat different, is it possible to learn from the American experience?

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Blog, National Politics, Society, Uncategorized

The killing of Marielle Franco on the UN radar


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by Gustavo Macedo

[8 minute read]

On March 14th, less than a month into a federal military intervention that is supposed to fix the security crisis in the state of Rio de Janeiro, the brutal assassination of a Rio de Janeiro’s Councilwoman, Marielle Franco, has dragged new actors into an already intricate political situation – and this time they are international. The United Nations (UN), which had already been expressing concerns about the unfolding political situation, may now dive into the story head first.

The case of Marielle meets all the criteria for setting the UN machinery in motion. Politically, the great commotion that the story of Marielle’s murder generated nationally in Brazil earned it international political attention, including that of the UN, an organization that strategically chooses to focus its work on emblematic cases that can serve as examples of the fight for human rights around the world. Technically, the history of other recent similar cases killings in Brazil, the profile of the victim, the circumstances of the crime, its modus operandi and the allegations of people close to the victim should, in theory, be sufficient in order for the case to be picked up by the UN.

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Blog, National Politics, Society

What can we learn from the Brazilian concealed carry prohibition?


by Rodrigo Schneider

[7 minute read]

In 2003, Brazilian Congress approved legislation that banned the carrying of concealed weapons nationwide and provided for a voter referendum 22 months later regarding whether to ban the sale of all firearms in Brazil. Whether this restrictive law was effective in reducing crimes is still controversial and I use a statistical design to identify the causal effects of this legislation and provide more explicit evidence to elucidate this law’s consequences.[1]

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Blog, Enviroment, National Politics

Renca: Attacks From the Brazilian Government Put Reserve At Risk


by Vera Ceccarello and Tatiana Massaro

“You do not know me and you’ve never seen me. You live in a distant land.”

(Davi Kopenawa, Yanomamishaman)

During the final months of 2017, the Amazon has once again taken center stage of debates in the media and in civil society. The trigger was a decree from the interim government of Michel Temer that would allow the private initiative to explore an area of 46 thousand square kilometers known as Renca (National Reserve of Copper and Associates) – First Decree 9.147, August 28, 2017 [i][1]. The urgent character of the decree and the lack of dialogue with the population spawned massive controversies among government, environmentalists, the indigenous population and people worried about preserving the Amazon forest. Faced with several outrage demonstrations, the Brazilian government backtracked and suspended the decree on September 2018 during 120 days from this date (Second Decree 9.159, from September 26, 2017, revoking the first one) [ii][2].

renca

Caption: Fig. 1. Part of RENCA (National Reserve of Copper and Associates)

Source: IPAM. (October 25, 2016). Retrieved January 27, 2018  (iii)[3].

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