Following a scandal over the sociologist Túlio Kahn who is accused of supressing his own crime figures whilst clandestinely selling the data to private companies, Geraldo Alckmin, the governor of São Paulo, anounced that forthwith crime figures would be published monthly and broken down by district as opposed to every 3 months at city level only. That was back in March 2011.
Now that the full first semester is in we have the usual articles comparing 2011 to 2010 and yesterday a good few were celebrating a 29% fall in homicides in São Paulo capital. Now, don't get me wrong, a drop in murder rate is usually a good thing but there is some detail in the stats that doesn't make as nice reading as the 29% fall headline would seem to imply:
- First up, violent crime may have dropped in the last few years for various reasons and some may have dropped versus 2010 which is all good but they have dropped from an already very high level - however big the city is if you compare the below figures with the same 180day period in most western countries your per capita incidence metric will be through the roof.
- Although murder fell by 29%, attempted murder (which is similar in terms of intent but perhaps lacking in execution (excuse the pun, poor taste I know)) rose by 18% which suggests that the murder drop is not as dramatic and part of it is perhaps coincidental. Either that or the assasins are getting clumsier.
- Murder is not the only crime on the list. Drug trafficking is up, as is car theft and GBH. As you can imagine these were not exactly low in 2010 but they all increased. Car ownership did increase too so we would have to look at whether the rise is proportional (i.e. the risk to car owners is the same) but in absolute terms in went up
- Another interesting one to notice is that the incident of hostage/kidnapping for ransom is actually statistically very low. If you were to judge by the conversations of the wealthier residents of São Paulo they would have you believe this was extremely likely to happen, everyone has a story they have heard about kidnapping, but if you look at the stats there were only 13 cases in H1 2011. Unlucky number for some but contrary to the media hype around it quite a low number for a city of 20m. So maybe a nice topic to sell papers with but not necessarily the most worrying criminal activity in SP.
|Ocorrências na capital paulista||1º semestre 2010||1º semestre 2011||Diferença|
|Nº de vítimas de latrocínio||32||47||47%|
|Tentativa de homicídio||480||567||18%|
|Tráfico de entorpecentes||2.802||3.263||16%|
|Lesão corporal dolosa||17.038||19.765||16%|
|Roubo de veículos||17.414||18.796||8%|
|Roubo a banco||76||78||3%|
|Furto de veículos||21.106||21.076||0%|
|Lesão corporal culposa por acidente de trânsito||13.422||13.002||-3%|
|Roubo de carga||2.186||2.108||-4%|
|Roubo (inclui roubo de carga e banco)||56.676||54.026||-5%|
|Homicídio culposo (inclui mortes em acidentes)||460||428||-7%|
|Homicídio culposo por acidente de trânsito||426||378||-11%|
|Nº de vítimas em homicídio doloso||596||501||-16%|
|Extorsão mediante sequestro||16||13||-19%|
|Lesão corporal culposa (outras)||998||799||-20%|