Previous Next

Photo: Mike Vondran.

For 60,000 murder victims, the future of justice is cloudy.

Three years from now, Rio de Janeiro will be hosting the 2014 World Cup. Two years after that, the 2016 Summer Olympics. The city’s administration knows it has some serious work to do in terms of ensuring security is at a high and threat levels are low to host the millions and millions of visitors, but a recently published statistic isn’t helping morale: 60,000 murders from the last 10 years remain unsolved in the state, including 24,000 unidentified victims, reports the AP.

Rio police recently created a homicide division (they didn’t have one before?), but it only helped increase the solution rate from 11 to 13 percent. By comparison, the US and European solution rates remain around 70 to 80 percent.

I’m interested to know from locals, though, what the ground-level perception is to Rio’s efforts to reduce crime. The situation on the ground is often much different than the view from above. The United States, for example, boasts a higher murder rate than any European country, but I’ve felt far safer as a visitor in sketchy areas of New York than as a tourist in Europe. Anyone noticing a change, for better or worse, in Rio or the rest of Brazil?

World Events


About The Author

Jason Wire

Jason Wire graduated from Vanderbilt University in 2010 and spent the year after writing and teaching English in Spain. He's back in the states now, but doesn't know where. Follow him @wirejr.

  • Guest

    The main problem in Rio is the bad distribution of resources and the lack of will from the authorities to fight violence. When Rio hosted the 2007 Pan American games, violence rates fell sharply, unfortunatelly we were unable to keep these numbers low.

    But I see improvements since the announcement of the World Cup and the Olympics. New jobs were created and we can see an increase in self-esteem. Today I am less afraid to walk the streets of Rio.

    About the numbers, they are related not only to the city of Rio (5 million inhabitants), but to the state (18 million), but they are still shameful for somewhere that is about to host such important events.

    • MarcosMark


      Brasil is not the best and not the worst place in the world! We definately need more commitment from the government and the people in general!

      However we do have beautiful places and beautiful people (not only physical beauty) healpful and friendly people willing to do their best for others!

      Let’s hope all goes well and we do just fine hosting those events!

  • Ron

    How is three years from now 2016?

  • Rashaad Jorden

    You meant five years from now, Rio will be hosting the Olympics. Three years from now, Brazil will be hosting the World Cup.

    • JasonWire

      Aha, yes. Got my i’s crossed and t’s dotted. Thanks for catching me.

  • TikRoo

    That makes a whole lot of sense dude.

  • Local

    Don’t worry. I will only be a problem if you don’t pay your drug dealer, or the prostitutes, or the corrupt cops there.

  • Wilsandre

    well i live in this corrupt and violent country and all i can say is, nothing will change. but rest assure the government will make deals with the druglords so “gringos” wont get killed during the event. thats how they “solve” things around here.

  • Marco

    Although security levels are increasing here in Rio, they are doing shitty slowly. I avoid taking my belonging to the streets when I leave home so I won’t be robbed. The city is really corrupt, specially within the political sphere (but this happens throughout the whole country). I believe that near the events dates the security quality will miraculously rise. I really don’t think there will be any tragedy involving foreigners, but as soon as the events end things will come back to this unfortunate normality.
    The AIDS comment, however, has no fundaments. 

  • AdBlaze

    That is a staggering rate. I wonder what the real number is with all of the un-reported murders? People who just come up missing.  Insane!

  • Anonymous

    That is crazy how no one seems to care and the local authority doesn’t do anything. They are all probably paid off to not tell or investigate. Orange County SEO.

  • Carlos Rubens

    I am afraid oversimplified criticism will not take us anywhere when it comes to such a highly complex society in a such vast territory. A relevant information: Brazil’s territory is bigger than continental US (without Alaska) and diversity also applies to how it is governed and its social dynamics as well. Rio can perhaps represent the country as its touristic capital. An obvious (and yes accurate) stereotype of urban Southeast region with drug gangs, favelas, a corrupt political class, bad police; social disorder. The so-called Brazilian social gap and overall idea of injustice have their roots attached to Colonial times and specks of a subservient society with a very low self-esteem, deficient educational system and widespread corruption. It will take us more than a World Cup or Olympic-level event to overcome such a wide range of challenges. Still, we are entitled to “be it”. If what we first need is to enhance credibility, both events are a good chance to measure where are we headed to.

    • Stanley Chang

      these is kinda serious things.

Russell Slater has some advice for you on your next trip to Rio.
The games have been held all over the world...but not really.
"Brazil, a place where batucada and jazz, beach and jungle, and bikinis and Jesus coexist...
Rio's not the only Carnival in Brazil, and for many Brazilians it's not even the most...
The Olympics draw criticism even in countries that don't put their citizens in forced...
Photos from the weekend's memorial ceremonies.
People were unprepared for flooding of this magnitude.
Like early hunter gatherers competing for resources, these consumers are willing to fight...
We'll be using the global press coverage to protest FIFA and President Dilma.
The 9-year progress of the One World Trade center, rising on the New York City skyline.
Upali now lives a long bus ride away from the beach where he had set up his life.
From where to crash to recommended clothing, beverages, plus pre and post-party tips,...