São Paulo reports 15 massacres this year

The figures released by the Police Ombudsman's Office and by the NGO

Published on 03/10/2015 - 11:34 By Elaine Patrícia Cruz reports from Agência Brasil - São Paulo


Violence: until last Tuesday (Sep. 22), 15 massacres were recorded, totaling 62 deaths.Fernando Frazão / Arquivo Agência Brasil 

A report prepared by the São Paulo State Police Ombudsman's Office, in Brazil, obtained by Agência Brasil, indicates that, until last Tuesday (Sep. 22), 15 massacres were recorded, totaling 62 deaths. In 2014 there were 15 massacres, totaling 64 victims. The number of this year's killing spree—so-called cases with more than three deaths—in São Paulo is already the same reported last year.

According to ombudsman Julio Cesar Fernandes Neves, in most cases, there is evidence of execution-style killings. In 2014, 183 crimes totaling 200 deaths remain with no identification of the criminal offenders.

Julio Cesar Fernandes Neves

Julio Cesar Fernandes NevesDivulgação/Ouvidoria das Polícias de São Paulo 

The last massacre happened on August 13th in Osasco (metropolitan São Paulo), where 19 people were killed. Neves declared that five more deaths have not been counted "but had the same the modus operandi: gunshot to the face, chest, head."

The number of deaths caused clashes with police, in the ombudsman's opinion, is also very worrisome. Last year, killings mounted to 838. "This means that they were all killed by police officers. It is impossible, with 838 deaths, not to think that there are other groups like the Butantã," stated the ombudsman referring to the episode in which police officers were caught by cameras, killing a suspect in robbery who had been surrendered, and throwing a second unarmed suspect off the roof.

Only this year, the number of deaths caused clashes with police stands at 571. Ombudsman office's numbers are based on data provided by the public safety department (SSP in the original acronym) and the Internal Affairs Division. "This number is very high," noted the ombudsman. "Last year 838 deaths were reported, which means that we are on the same level," he reported.

Execution-style killings

Figures released by the ombudsman office are similar to data collected by the NGO Institute “Sou da Paz” (I'm peaceful, in a rough translation), based on information from São Paulo state public safety department, obtained by the Access to Information Act,.

According to the institute, in the first half of this year, 12 massacres with 44 victims were recorded in São Paulo state, but the killings of Osasco and Carapicuíba—from September 19th—were left out of this number. Of the total of cases registered in the first half of the year, six happened in the capital, and totaled 26 victims. For the same period last year, 13 massacres with 40 victims were recorded—three of them in the capital, with nine victims.

"The number of killing spree, especially in the capital, for the first half of 2015, has doubled. The number of victims in the capital is also very alarming, it has tripled," reported Bruno Langeani, coordinator of the Institute “Sou da Paz”.

Bruno Lageani, coordenador do instituo Sou da Paz

Bruno Langeani, coordinator of the Institute “Sou da Paz”Divulgação/Instituto Sou da Paz

In his opinion, it is not possible to uncover the reason for the growing number of massacres in the capital. "Anyway, this data is worrisome because in addition to the massacres, there was a rise in the number of homicides with evidence of execution-style killing, which is an information that the public safety department has recently begun to publish" stated Langeani.

From January to June this year, 24% of the homicides in São Paulo city had evidence of execution-style killing, i.e. one in four murdered victims were killed in execution-style. Last year, this rate was 16%. "It shows an impressive growth. Combined with the information about massacres, it suggests the evidence of death squads or active killers," further announced Langeani.

The idea of death squads acting in the state is contested by the department. "The SSP rebuts the thesis of death squad in corporations," declared the office.

Different numbers

In a note, the public safety department produced different statistics and reported a reduction in mass murders. "In the capital, there were 43 cases in 2002 against seven in the first half of 2015," announced the department that also rebuts the information about the rise on the number of deaths caused by police officers. "Measures adopted by the public safety department to reduce the use of police lethal force resulted in a decline of 15% in deaths caused by the intervention of military police officers from April to July this year, compared with the same period last year," read the note.

According to the department, this happened after they adopted the resolution that "promotes greater efficiency in death investigations, because it calls for the unprecedented attendance of the Internal Affairs Division and of captains of the region, in addition to specific teams of the Forensic Institute (IML) and Criminalistics Institute (IC) for better preserving the crime scene and [enhancing] initial efficiency of investigations.” Moreover, as the department has further reported, they created an Integrated Council of Strategic Planning and Management  (Conselho Integrado de Planejamento e Gestão Estratégica) "to coordinate actions of police officers and to integrate the criminal intelligence systems, in addition to propose measures to control the use of police lethal force."

The head of the São Paulo state public safety department, Alexandre de Moraes, denied that the number of massacres is growing and denied it to be a trend.

Translated by Amarílis Anchieta

Fonte: São Paulo reports 15 massacres this year

Edition: Lílian Beraldo / Olga Bardawil

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