23 Jan, Sunday
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Alarming murder rates just 40km from Brasília

Alarming murder rates just 40km from Brasília

THE Brazilian TV show Fantástico revealed on Sunday night that the murder rates in four cities just 40 kilometers from the country’s capital Brasilia are twice the national average of 24.5 victims per 100,000 inhabitants. Shockingly, these cities are only beaten by Honduras, considered the most violent country in the world.

Novo Gama, Luziania, Aguas Lindas and Valparaiso are all approximately 40 kilometers from Brasilia and have grown much in recent years as escalating living costs in Brasilia and the Federal District have pushed more and more of the poorer populations into the adjoining state of Goias, where living costs are much more affordable. This has led to an overcrowding of schools and hospitals in these cities, with Novo Gama not even having a public hospital of its own. It has also concentrated violence in these urban areas.

The murder rate in Luziania is more than double the national rate at 71.4 victims per 100,000 inhabitants, while in Valparaiso the rate is a shocking 75.97 victims per 100,000. In comparison, the most violent country in Europe is Turkey with 18.4 murders per 100,000, and the most peaceful are France with .8 murders per 100,000 and Norway with only .53 murders per 100,000 inhabitants.

These cities on the edges of the Federal District have always demanded financial support from the federal capital for their security, schools and hospitals, arguing that this helped stem the flow of their inhabitants going to Brasilia seeking medical care or education. Brasilia in turn, already facing overwhelmed public hospitals that force patients to lie on cots on hallways, has reluctantly been willing to dole out money to help these cities. Unfortunately, this has led the state of Goias to become lazy in funding these cities, having grown accustomed to the aid from Brasilia.

Police in Goias and the Federal District blame much of the violence in the so-called “cidades do entorno” on drug traffickers and criminal gangs clashing with one another. They also blame the surge in violence on a lack of policemen to patrol the streets, with the Secretary of Public Safety of the DF Sandro Torres Avelar admitting to Fantástico that more needed to be done to lower the murder rate.

The program noted that an integrated security headquarters in Aguas Lindas, that had been set up a few years ago and was staffed by military and civil police, as well as by firefighters, but then abandoned more than a year ago, was going to be reactivated.  Yet it noted that two weeks after it starting filming for the program that aired Sunday, the building where the center used to be located at was still empty and abandoned.

The security situation has deteriorated so much in these four cities, that residents are afraid to go out at night, and state authorities had to call in 107 soldiers of the National Security Force to help patrol the streets.

Ironically, Fantástico noted that funeral homes listen-in illegally to police scanners and then often show up at crime scenes even before the police can get there. “Sometimes up to five funeral homes show up at the same place,” Candido da Silva told the program.