Brazil, the largest country in South America, has diverse crime trends that have garnered international attention over the years.

1. Overview of Crime Rates in Brazil:

Brazil has faced challenges with both violent and property crimes. Large cities like São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Salvador have historically been hotspots for various crimes, although the nature and rates of these crimes can vary significantly between cities and regions.

2. Trends Up to 2021:

  • Homicides: Brazil has one of the highest absolute numbers of homicides in the world. However, the rate has fluctuated over the years. In the 2010s, Brazil experienced a decline in its homicide rate, but by the latter part of the decade, there were upticks again. As of 2019, the homicide rate was over 20 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, though this was a decline from higher rates in previous years.
  • Organized Crime & Drug Trafficking: Brazil has faced significant challenges with drug trafficking, particularly with large gangs and organized crime groups such as Comando Vermelho (Red Command) and Primeiro Comando da Capital (First Capital Command). These groups have been involved in various criminal activities, including drug trafficking, kidnappings, and violent territorial disputes.
  • Property Crimes: While violent crimes often garner the most attention, Brazil also has high rates of property crimes such as theft, burglary, and vehicle theft.
  • Armed Robbery: Particularly in urban areas, armed street robberies (known as “arrastões”) can be a significant concern.
  • Police-related Killings: Brazil has seen a high number of deaths related to police interventions. These incidents have stirred debates about policing tactics, training, and the broader issue of public security.

3. Regional Differences:

Crime rates can vary significantly between states and regions in Brazil:

  • North and Northeast: These regions have experienced higher rates of violent crime, particularly homicide, in comparison to other regions. States like Ceará, Rio Grande do Norte, and Bahia have had particularly high homicide rates in recent years.
  • South and Southeast: While states in these regions, such as São Paulo, have historically had high crime rates, some have experienced significant reductions in certain types of crime. São Paulo, for instance, saw dramatic decreases in its homicide rate from the early 2000s to the 2010s.

4. Factors Influencing Crime Rates:

  • Economic Disparities: Brazil has significant economic inequalities, which have been linked to crime rates in various regions.
  • Urbanization: Rapid urban growth without accompanying infrastructural development can lead to increased crime in urban areas.
  • Policing and Corruption: Policing tactics, corruption within law enforcement, and the judicial system can influence both crime rates and public perception of safety.


Brazil, with its vast size and diverse population, has a complex landscape when it comes to crime. While certain areas and cities have seen improvements in safety and reductions in specific crimes, challenges remain, particularly with violent crime and organized crime groups.



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