Half of the killings registered in 2016 took place in only 123 Brazilian cities, as revealed by the 2018 Violence Atlas – Public Policies and Portraits of Brazilian Municipalities, by the Institute of Applied Economic Research (Ipea) and the Brazilian Public Security Forum (FBSP).
Altogether, these municipalities add up to a mere 2.2% of all Brazilian cities. The figures surpass those of 2015, when 109 administrative units covered half of the country’s violent deaths. This, researchers believe, indicates the spread of crime to smaller towns, a process observed by specialists since the mid 00’s.
Of the cities with over 100 thousand people, the most violent can be found in the North and Northeast. However, the list with the 309 municipalities with the highest mortality rate is led by Queimados, in Rio de Janeiro, in the Southeast, with 134.9 homicides for every 100 thousand inhabitants.
Of the state capitals, the northern city of Belém, Pará, received the title of most violent city in 2016, with an average rate of 76.1 killings for every 100 thousand people.
Subject to a federal public security intervention across the state, Rio de Janeiro closed out 2016 among the eight capital cities with the lowest violent mortality rates—25.8 deaths for every 100 thousand inhabitants. The group is headed by São Paulo, with 10.1 murders.
In the document, however, experts argue that the improvement in São Paulo’s rate comes partly as a result of the predominance of one criminal organization over the others, which is believed to make it possible for its members to control the use of violence and prevent lethal disputes.