Brazil broke its own record for homicides last year, according to new figures which showed that 63,880 people were killed in 2017 – a 3% increase from the previous year.
Data from the independent Brazilian Public Security Forum said that an average of 14 people died at the hands of police officers every day – an increase of 20% from the previous year.
Rapes also rose 8% to 60,018, while murders of women increased 6.1% to 4,539.
“It is a devastating scenario,” said Renato Sérgio de Lima, director of the forum, who said the homicide figures had been exacerbated by antiquated laws and police procedures and the growth in organised crime. Most victims were young, black men from poor urban areas, he said.
“The numbers show we have a serious problem with lethal violence,” he said.
The chilling statistics are likely to play into October’s elections where crime is a key issue for many voters. Rightwing presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro leads some polls on a platform that includes loosening gun controls and giving police more licence to kill.
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