Expert: Violent Crime Remains Major Roadblock to Brazil’s Development

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The Brazilian Forum of Public Security and the Institutes Igarapé and Sou da Paz launched on Thursday the “Public Security Is the Solution” agenda, with 35 concrete proposals to reduce violence in Brazil.

The document is available to candidates for the Presidency of the Republic in the upcoming October elections, and the issue of violence is among the biggest concerns for Brazilians. According to the institutions authoring the agenda, Brazil has 61,000 violent deaths a year and has more than 700,000 people arrested with crime costing in excess of 4% of the national income.

Sociologist David Marques, coordinator of projects of the Brazilian Forum of Public Security, said that the problem of violence can be overcome if “public security in Brazil fixes ‘the house'”, according to the agenda.

“This is one of the main discussions that we need to have, including in terms of the socio-economic development of the country. Violence is a major obstacle to Brazil’s development in terms of loss of human lives and damage to the productivity of people and our economic system,” the expert said.

According to the sociologist, the NGOs elaborated six vectors of action essential for the solution of the problem. First and foremost, it will be necessary to create an efficient system to manage public security in the country, as well as to combat national and international organized crime. Other measures recommended by the group deal with the strengthening and empowerment of the police, and the resumption of control of the prisons. In addition, it would be necessary to invest in violence-prevention by working with vulnerable populations, updating drug policy and increasing arms control.

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This last aspect, according to David Marques, is one of the main ones.

“We believe that if the system succeeds in removing these weapons from circulation, it will contribute to all security policies. When we speak of homicide, we are talking about firearms. 70% of homicides are committed with firearms,” he said.

He then criticized the use of the Armed Forces in public safety and said that the government should enable the police to carry out work in order to get closer to the population.

“From the moment we organize the system, public safety can be the solution to many of the problems we face,” concluded David Marques.

“It is fundamental that there is a qualified and non-populist debate on the issues of violence and public safety,” he concluded.

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