The Sangari Institute has just released a so called map of violence in Brazil covering data from 1980 to 2010 and the most interesting data is no doubt from São Paulo:
Above are comparative results from the last 10 years for Brazil, São Paulo state, São Paulo city and municipalities, and finally the interior of the state (excluding São Paulo city). The interesting data is how the city and its immediate surroundings has transformed from having 60,2 homicides per 100,000 people in 2000 right down to last year’s 15,6 per 100,000. For a population the size of São Paulo that is statistically significant and an incredible drop. Few would have predicted 10 years ago that São Paulo would have four times fewer murders. It has gone from practically twice the national average to nearly half the national average whilst continuing to grow in absolute population size.
Looking at the data more closely we can see it is a complete reversal of the trend up to that point. São Paulo started out in 1980 with a homicide rate similar to its current one but greatly outstripped the already increasing national average year on year until reaching its peak in 1999 reaching levels over 65% higher than the already high national average. Frightening statistics. Escalating lawlessness? An inevitable product of gross inequality? A side effect of the uncontrolled creation of a megalopolis? Either way, 1999 would have been a difficult time to predict any major reduction or even leveling off.
But the data doesn’t lie, here’s the year by year rate again by Brazil, São Paulo state, São Paulo city and municipalities, and finally the interior of the state (excluding São Paulo city):
And in more visual format (check out the purple line which is São Paulo city):
Paradoxically 10 years ago there were more municipalities which didn’t register any homicides at all which means there are now much fewer homicides but they are more dispersed. And counter-intuitively, although the more populous areas have higher rates in general at the top end the municipalities with 200-500,000 population now have a higher rate than ones with over 500,000:
Food for thought and definitely not what the tabloid media, human rights activists, or paranoid affluent Paulistanos would have you believe...
For more statistics on São Paulo:
For the full report from the Instituto Sangari: