Crime is Expensive
Violent crime cost Brazil 258 billion reais (about U$100 billion) in 2013, a figure equivalent to 5.4 percent of the country’s GDP. This astronomical expense was detailed in the Brazilian Public Safety Annual Report, in which it is stated that an average of six people died in police operations each day during 2013.
The report, which was presented at the Brazilian Public Safety Forum in São Paulo, said that 2212 people died in police operations during 2013, and 490 police officers died while on duty or were murdered, which is 43 more than during the previous year. Over the past five years, 1170 officers have been killed. The report also stated that the slight drop from 2332 deaths in 2012 “does not indicate an improvement or change in trend.”
To calculate the economic cost of the violence, Ipea, the economic research institute, analyzed the public safety health care expenditures at different levels of government, as well as other parameters.
The Public Safety Forum emphasized that although Brazil spent about 1.26 percent of GDP on public security in 2013, more than the United States (1.02 percent) but about the same as European Union countries (1.3 percent), “The results obtained in Brazil are very far from the results registered in those countries,” Forum participants observed. The high cost of violence in Brazil indicates that “the resources today are insufficient to deal with the local situation or, at least, are very badly utilized.”
Between 2009 and 2013, authorities registered 11,197 deaths in police operations, a figure exceeding the number of deaths at the hands of the police in the United States over the past 30 years, the communique said. The figure includes statistics for cases involving police officers both on and off the force.
[This article was written for the Latin American Herald Tribune and was edited by CIE.]