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7 murders per hour: Brazil’s homicide rate hits new record

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By Agence France-Presse

Brazil has hit another grim record of 63,880 homicides in 2017, or the equivalent of more than seven murders an hour, according to figures released Thursday.

Although nearly all the victims were men, the annual report from the non-profit Brazilian Forum for Public Security also found a six percent increase in murders of women.

These included 1,133 deaths as a result of femicide, or victims being deliberately targeted because they were female. The 60,018 rapes were up more than eight percent compared to 2016.

Outrage over mounting violence against women has heated in the last few days after the widely publicized release of security camera footage showing a brutal beating of a woman by her husband in southern Brazil — minutes before he allegedly threw her to her death from a window.

The wider issue of murders, especially in the north of Brazil, has contributed to anger at the authorities which is expected to play heavily in the just-started presidential campaign.

According to the authoritative annual study, which only includes figures through 2017, there were an average 175 killings a day, up 2.9 percent over the previous year.

The average national homicide rate of 30.8 killings for every 100,000 people shot up to 68 per 100,000 in the state of Rio Grande do Norte, while dropping to 10.7 in Sao Paulo state, despite containing Latin America’s biggest city.

Reflecting the deep inadequacies of the country’s justice system, the report said there are 729,463 people incarcerated in penitentiaries with room for just 367,217.

Police killed 5,144 people on duty in 2017, a 20 percent increase, the study said, while 367 officers were killed — down nearly five percent. (AFP)