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Rio, Brazil, Gets Its Own Body Count Site: 44 Dead in 4 Days

Rio Body Count, a site in Brazil to measure violence in dead people

Rio Body Count, a site in Brazil to measure violence in dead people Like US General Tommy Frank, who told reporters covering the Iraq war, "We don't do body counts," Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, didn't care much for the number of its civilians casualty till two Cariocas (Rio natives) started this February 1st, a website just for that: counting the bodies lost to violence in the Cidade Maravilhosa (Marvelous City).

In four days they have already counted 44 deaths and 41 injured. By creating Rio Body Count – www.riobodycount.com.br – system analyst Vinicius Costa, 25, and cartoonist André Dahmer, 32, with the help of five other volunteers, are trying to wake up Rio's population from its complacency and to the war zone that the town has become.

The site was inspired by the Iraq Body Count website, which has already counted a minimum of 56,000 bodies since the US invasion of that country, which started March 20, 2003.

The authors of the page explain: "We are a group of volunteers, without any party affiliation or link to any institution. We don't get donations and we are not an NGO. We report violence incidents in Rio de Janeiro from news we read in the big press and other sources." Their motto: "We do not believe in watched over peace, we want social inclusion."

Early this Monday morning, February 5, the homepage opened with this news: "It climbed to five the number of dead and 15 got hurt in the confrontation between police and drug traffickers in Cidade Alta and Ilha do Governador, according to CBN radio."

On Sunday, the site had informed: "Iago Silva, a 6-year-old boy, died Sunday night after being shot by a drug trafficker in the Vila do Cruzeiro favela (shantytown), in the Penha neighborhood, while sitting in front of his house on Jaci street, in a place known as Caracol (snail). The child was shot in the head. After being taken to the Getúlio Vargas Hospital, the boy was transferred to the state hospital Adão Pereira Nunes, in Saracuruna, where he died. As of yet, the police still don't know what triggered the shot.
(Globo Online)"

Earlier, there were a few more tragic stories: "Luis Fernando de Miranda Magalhães, 27, was shot dead around 10 pm. The crime occurred in front of his home in Agripino Francisco Martins Street, in the Imbetiba neighborhood, in Macaé. (Macaenews.com.br)."

– Sergeant Alex Sarmento Mendes, was shot in the right eye this morning in the showdown in Cidade Alta, he died this afternoon. (Globo Online)

– An alleged criminal not yet identified died during a confrontation with policemen from the Military Police's 9th Battalion in Rocha Miranda. (O Dia, online)

– A homeless man was clubbed to death at dawn this Sunday under the Perimetral's bridge. The crime occurred in the Alfredo Agache street, next to the Navy's Cultural Center. (O Dia Online)

– During the invasion of Vila Juaniza, the Military Police officer Carlos Henrique Ferreira died and the officer identified as Augusto was wounded. A resident was taken out from his home by a man in a camouflaged uniform and executed in 82 Street, in a place known as Lagoinha (Little Pond). The murderer, known as PCC, was killed a little later. Another Military Police was also shot and has been admitted to the Military Police's General Hospital.  (O Dia online)

– Edvânia dos Santos Silva, 54, was shot in the left knee, this Sunday morning, during an escape by gunmen, in the Margaridas crossroad, between the Dutra Highway and the Brasil Avenue. The woman was inside a bus when the policemen from the Special Roads Policing Battalion were giving chase to the criminals, who were in a Volkswagen Polo and a GM Astra. (JB Online)

The first report of the Sunday was:  "A police militia took control of the Cidade Alta favela, in the Cordovil neighborhood, in the North Side, Friday night. Sunday, around 7 am, the traffickers' attempt to retake control of drugs sales in the area provoked an intense shooting, which left three residents and three policemen from the 16th Battalion wounded. (O Dia Online)

From the Saturday reports: "A burnt corpse, was found in Belford Roxo." – "Maurí­cio Guilherme, 21, was found with a cut throat, at dawn this Saturday, in Recreio dos Bandeirantes." -  "A Chevrolet Meriva, plate HCV-3811, was found with three corpses inside this Saturday morning, in Bonsucesso."

Talking to Reuters, the site creators said their intent is to provoke reactions: "The intention is really to shock. The violence in Rio has become commonplace and nobody knows the size of the tragedy we live daily. Two people challenged us asking if we were not badmouthing the city. I answered that real badmouthing will happen when someone comes here on vacation and ends up dead, robbed. Our work is only to gather the information."

The duo's initiative seems to have awakened the interest from people in other Brazilian cities who have now also shown interest in starting their own body counting in their area. Costa and Dahmer tell that they already have received calls from Salvador (Bahia), Belo Horizonte (Minas Gerais) and São Paulo.

"Some even suggested that we started a Brazil Body Count, but that would require an absurd time of work," commented Costa and added: "I can already anticipate, even sharing the work, we will spend the whole day updating. But it's worthwhile. After this grows bigger, we wish to become part of the solution by suggesting measures that will help to decrease the violence in Rio de Janeiro."

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  • Show Comments (30)

  • Joao Paulo

    The Site is GONE
    The RioBodyCount site is GONE. That was quick…questions, questions, questions in my mind about who shut it down.

  • Paulo Zappi

    Good idea, but data is not complete
    I think the initiative is good, but counting the bodies in Rio alone can be misleading. The civil war is happening all over Brazil and the only effort we see from the Federal Government is leading towards setting free more murderers. Brazilians do not imprison murderers (police solving rate under 5%) and when they do they give jail terms of a few years, even to the most relentless murderers.

    I am publishing a body counter that uses approximate data based on the official statistics from IBGE (Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e EstatÀƒ­stica). This counter is approximate but it is Brazil-wide. You can see it here: http://strangemansparadise.blogspot.com/2007/04/cadaveres-do-descaso-2.html (in portuguese)

  • Gerry

    Concerned in Brazil, you have it completely wrong about these drug dealers (I say drug ‘dealers’ as I’m not sure ‘traffickers’ actually applies) in Rio – they ARE poor. Just because they (or should that be ‘some’) carry sophisticated weapons does not make them wealthy.

    The same situation (in fact considerably worse) went on for years in the barrios of Medellin, Colombia and I’m not talking about the drug cartel. I’m referring to the same type of heavily-armed, dysfunctional common delinquents that live and operate in Rio’s slums – i.e. poor people.

    The real drug traffickers in Rio are the cops and to say they’re outgunned is dramatic but factually inaccurate.

  • Chelsey

    The site is a great start!
    Ive been living in rio for two years and as an american I have seen the hate and discontent this country is infected with. I live in one of the richest sections of rio (leblon) it is true that you have more crime in cities that have more rich people. People want what they cant have and they will do anything to get it. Last moth a woman was shot in the head along the beach in her car with her mother and baby daughter with her over a watch by two young males. You see, the reason why you dont have as much crime in more rural sections where there are even more people is because they dont have fancy cars and diamond rings being flashed in their faces over and over again in other words they have nothing to fight over unless its beans or coffee. I have to admit that brazilions love to SHOW thier wealth. I studied at EARJ an american school and you would not believe those kids attatudes torwards life. Brazil has a serious problem. To be honest I dont think the website is going to help any. They are thick skulled people. The country is corrupt and absolutely NO ONE is doing a thing about it! The entire government is corrupt so do you think that a corrupt leader is going to choose a non corrupted politician? I think not. Its a repeating cycle. They need something bigger than a mere website. They need a revolution. New government officials. Only 10% of brazilions are wealthy and those 10% own 90% of the countrys wealth. Thats amazing huh. Its almost a monopoly. The rich keep getting richer and the poor just continue getting poorer. the poorer they are the greater their needs are and who better to supply it than a wealthy woman walking down a street. Its easy money to them because the rich have deprived them. Sadly Brazil dosnt have adaquite education for the children so how will Brazils generations be able to change the future for Brazil? Do they even know what a Presedent does or do they just think “oh if i just vote for Lula then I will get a package of food every month and R100?” They dont know better. Its the government that has made this country into the crime stricken country it is today and untill they invest in more schools and better schools instead of bringing the nation into greater debt by hosting Pan American games this year then MAYBE we can expect to witnes a change in the crime rate and stability of the Gov. They need to focus on the needs of the people.

  • Kevin Murphy

    Rio Politicians Wake Up And Smell The Coffee !
    A voice from England.

    Rio Body Count – this is what it has come to. You politicians should hang your heads in shame. You have done so little in so long that it now takes some brave individuals to spell it out in numbers the deaths in your beutiful city.
    Rio is a fantastic city. I have been there three times in recent years and each time the crime is worse than before. Rio is loosing many many millions of libra/dollars because tourists from all over the world are told by their television holiday programmes that Rio IS FAR TOO DANGEROUS TO VISIT.
    Yes it is.
    But more importantly why should hard working ordinary people of Rio suffer from the violence and crime day after day, year after year.There are many many good honest hard working people who live in the Favelas. Not everybody is bad. The middle class in the suburbs are also fed up to the back teeth with the deterioration of their wonderful city. You arrogant upper class you own the most and have the most to lose so keeping the status quo suits you.
    It was amazing here in England to see the responses of Brasilians both living here and in Brasil with the shooting of Jean Charles de Menzes to see the out pouring of anger and demands for enquiries and for the Englis police to be prosecuted . Lula even sent to England top Brasilian police officers to investigate that takes some balls does’nt it?. I think they should first start investigating what is happening in Rio. Children and innocent people are being slaughtered all of the time in Rio. Its time to wake up and smell the coffee.

  • Luca, Roma, Italy

    AND OF COURSE, nobody affirmed that ALL poor people are “bandidos” but in Brazil, just like **everywhere elese in the world** low income areas have more crime. But it seems that in Brazil some people are just content with locking themselves up in barbed-wire vigilates-controlled condos and rejoice at police random muders in the favelas and hate to spend even one real in social services/eductaion that would alleviate the situation in poor areas. The number of illiterate people in Brazil is a scandal!Education is the key for a better future. And don’t even think that lockink yourselves up in golden bunkers will help you stay away from crime! Look at what happened at that socialite in Leblon shoet in her head in her Mercedes at a crossroads in an affluent area of Rio.

  • Luca, Roma, Italy

    RIC —the measure of richeness is a statistical average…..
    Ric, statistics are more complex than that….Figures show that crime appears more in urban centers than coutryside (like Teresina) or “sertao” areas for a very simple reason: the exposure of extreme wealth before people who have a problem making ends meet on a daily basis ignites crime, and this rich-poor contrast gets exteme in urban centers. Just think of the richness of Leblon residents in Rio a few miles (if not less) from the Vidigal favela….or the DASLU billionaire store in Sao Paolo selling Chanel & Valentino sharing the fence with the Coliseu favela. If you are a poor farmer in teresina the only superrich people you see are the ones in the telenovelas! So that’s why in “richer-than-teresina” urban centers have more crime.

  • Max Power

    Rio needs Wyatt Earp

  • Ric

    If poverty is the main issue, one would expect that Teresina (poorest state capital) would have more crime and murders than SP (the richest), but the inverse is true, on a per capita basis. Must be more to it than that.

  • Concerned in Brazil

    [quote]You have been making excuses and analyzing it for 300 years.[/quote]

    300 years? I would be in the Guinness book of world records, and not wasting my time with this site if I were that old. You couldn’t have been talking about BRazil, because this nation is heaps older than that.

    [quote]When will you do something about it instead of trying to explain it away?[/quote]

    IÀ¢€™m not trying to À¢€œexplain it awayÀ¢€Â, IÀ¢€™m trying to focus on the real root causes as opposed to blaming an already disenfranchised group just for convenience. I think the poor have had it rough enough; they donÀ¢€™t need this thrown at their feet too.

    And BTW, basic membership to the PCC is 500 reias a month, almost 200 reias more than minimum wage – sounds like if I were really poor I wouldnÀ¢€™t be wasting that type of dosh on being a member of some elite À¢€œrights for prisonersÀ¢€Â racket, while moonlighting as a pistoleiro. As well, those shoot outs in Rio do not consist of stones or whatever else is lying around that the POOR could grab. In many cases they involve more sophisticated weaponry than the police posses.

    As far as government goes, Cabral seems to have À¢€œseen the lightÀ¢€Â. IÀ¢€™m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Most state governors refuse federal help in these matters because it makes them look feeble or meek. Cabral came into office wanting federal assistance – letÀ¢€™s see where this gets him. The salient point is that he is the first Governor of Rio to take the issue of violence seriously, as opposed to his predecessors who were more than comfortable telling the world that the violence was isolated and everything was just hunky-dorey.

    Lula too seems more pragmatic on this issue lately. Whether or not he possess a true heart-felt concern on the matter, or whether he is just reacting to headlines will be determined in time.

  • ch.c.

    !!!!!!
    And this is for Rio only.

    And just as a reminder : 50 % of youths deaths aged 15-24 in Brazil, die from violent deaths.

    Think about it.

  • GTY

    Concerned in Brazil
    You have been making excuses and analyzing it for 300 years. When will you do something about it instead of trying to explain it away? If it’s as complex as you say, then only great leadership will solve it. Is great leadership on the horizon for Brazil?

  • Concerned in Brazil

    [quote]Geez, don’t you get it!?? No one is BLAMING the poor[/quote]

    You just did, and have a couple of times now.

    The problem with violence in Brazil is far more complicated that just the “haves stealing from the have notÀ¢€™s”. Simplistic minds like yours are not robust enough to stretch around the complicities of this nation. There is more to Brazil than just Rio (although the article is about Rio), and violence is NOT something endemic ONLY to the poor. And this is why you need to pull your head out of you ass and learn something about Brazil, issues are not just À¢€œblack n whiteÀ¢€Â figuratively and literally. The environment ALLOWING the violence is not the same that is keeping the poor destitute, which is something also in need of resolve (I wonÀ¢€™t negate that) . The reason why violence is so pervasive in this nation is because of the StateÀ¢€™s inability to guarantee security (actually, until recently the StateÀ‚´s blatant apathy towards security) in concert with something much deeper within the “jeitinho” culture. However blaming poverty is always the easiest way out for fools. Create a bolsa familia, and then everything will be just peachy-poo, Right?

    How about we look to India where there are MILLIONS more (hundreds of millions more actually) suffering from poverty; so if poverty is the SINGLE issue that breeds crime you would expect the same degree of violence or more there, right?

    [quote]Your argument also indicates the level and quality of your education.[/quote]

    What argument would that be? IÀ¢€™m certain most of it was lost on you anyway lightweight, so maybe if you prove to me you understood what I wrote maybe IÀ‚´ll throw you a bone and respond.

  • nicholas

    I think the root cause is corruption from Brazils top of the society to the lower class. Poverty does play a role, but corruption fuels flame to an already burning fire.

  • GTY

    Concerned
    Geez, don’t you get it!?? No one is BLAMING the poor, but they are blaming your society and government which has over your history CREATED the poor. When people have no choice, they turn to crime. Even you should be able to comprehend that, you don’t need a PhD. If your argument is that the rich and middle class are involved disproportanatly in more crime than the poor (be it there fault or not), there is no further use in debating this with you, it is simply to easy a point to make, if you don’t get it, you are either very young, or very dumb.

  • PPGY

    No
    Your middle class creates the violence buy buying their drugs. But your wanna be middle class gangsters in your barrio whould shit their pants in the POOR favelas of Rio or Sao Paulo. Your denial of the facts really exposes YOUR bigotry and ignorance…which in fact is Brazil’s biggest problem and the reason you keep desending into a chaotic hell. Your argument also indicates the level and quality of your education. I’ll bet you can walk down the streets of your Barrio…can you walk past the Boca of any REAL favela?

  • Concerned in Brazil

    [quote]the most violent are committed by the poor[/quote]

    There you go again, blaming the poor? If you really want to look seriously at crime, why no study gender, age and race too, that would paint an entirely different picture I reckon. Seems to me that the most violent crimes are committed by young males, not, as you put it, the poor. But nice try..

    [quote]the only ones that get any attention are when the [b]rich[/b] and [b]white[/b] are the victims. [/quote]

    Now we know your bigotry knows no bounds…

    Again, I donÀ‚´t believe in blaming the poor. They have enough to contend with. The jerk offs selling dope and shooting one another in my bairro are not from the favelas, but from the comfy confines of the middle class. This is why violence will always be a problem in this nation, because no one wants to look at it and tackle it seriously. Heaven forbid little middle class joÀƒ£o would be involved in anything nefarious….It is just too convient to blame those that donÀ‚´t have two nickles to spare.

  • PPGY

    Simple
    It means exactly what it says “poverty DOES breed crime” an example is in the US, crime rates are higher in poorer areas. What Luca meant, is that societies breed poverty. Poverty in Brazil is a direct result of the policies of the Brazilian governement, both past and current, and the rich elite. Until you address these issues there will be no improvement. Sorry, while all income levels indeed commit crimes in Brazil, the most violent are committed by the poor, against the poor. Unfortunatly, the only ones that get any attention are when the rich and white are the victims.

  • Concerned in Brazil

    57 deaths and counting….

  • Concerned in Brazil

    What the hell does this mean, then?

    [quote]The rule is simple, poverty breeds crime. [/quote]

  • PPGY

    Luca is right
    Hi didn’t blame the poor, he blamed the enviroment which creates such poverty and he is absolutley right. Instead of it being a national shame and doing something about it. Brazil continues down the same well worn path…won’t ever change.

  • Concerned in Brazil

    NOOOOOOOOO
    “Lack of education and the ensuing inability to find a good job is what leads people to drug-trafficking, robberies, burglaries etc to attain the economic resources which are nneded to get goods that are promoted through tvs etc.”

    NO NO NO….You are blaming the poor for this. Folks committing these crimes are from all walks of life; poor, middle class, and rich (sure the big blow outs are with the favela rats, but drug trafficers ARE FAR FROM POOR). The reason behind such a problem is POOR enforcement, not the POOR. An under-paid, barely respected and poorly trained police force is party responsible, but the politicians are the most to blame. Year after year they watched security in large cities decline, and they have done NOTHING. Rio, Sao Paulo, Salvador and a number of other crime-ridden capitals need a RUDOLPH Giuliani. not more crocodile tears from those feigning concern.

  • Luca , ITALY

    THERE IS NO ONE SOLUTION
    Lack of education and the ensuing inability to find a good job is what leads people to drug-trafficking, robberies, burglaries etc to attain the economic resources which are nneded to get goods that are promoted through tvs etc. .
    We can send 1.000.000 police troops to favelas and the problem will still be there. The rule is simple, poverty breeds crime. If Brazilian elite do not understand that enforcing security is just one part of the solution nothing wille ever change. Also needed are 1) cut the roots of the drug trade by legalizing drug-consumption and providing it gratis through medical consueling 2) increase police salary to fight corruption 3) police must wear indetification numbers on jackets/helmets (like in Sweden for example) so that they can be indentified in case of misconduct 4) reduce inequality in income distrubution (Brazil is only second to Colombia and Sierra Leone….) by introducing more progressive taxation 5) preventing corrupted politician/or who’re on trial from running for the election 6) pray for EXU that something’s gonna change in Brazil at last

  • bo

    up to 52.

  • GTY

    Bo
    For once…I agree.

  • bo

    [quote]the sad part is, unless Brazil is ready to fight a war, it’s unstoppable.[/quote]

    Well, think it’s way overdue don’t you?? When a government allows criminals to have that much influence over a city, to actually shut down entire sections of it, an international city, that’s shameful and cowardly.

    Can you imagine this type of violence and daily attacks and murders being allowed to exist in London, New York, Paris, Tokyo, etc, etc??

    Imagine if all cities in the world had the attitude and response that Rio, and the brazilian gov’t. have, in their respective cities. The inmates would control the asylum, but ironically, the inmates in brazil DO control their prisons/asylums.

  • PPGY

    It’s a product of decades of hand wringing and fear to deal with the problem, much has to do with income disparity and low pay for police and military…the sad part is, unless Brazil is ready to fight a war, it’s unstoppable. Did you notice how many deaths posted on the site were children and young men. Shameful.

  • bo

    up to 50 dead and 33 wounded now….truly incredible to hear how these people have died. It’s truly a war-zone there, brazilians killing brazilians.

  • Concerned in Brazil

    Brilliant. Simply brilliant. For far too long the hug-a-thug socialists and other self anointed elites in the social science professions such as social anthropologists and other light-weight academics have been manipulating stats and forcing governments to ignore the rampant spread of violence, not only in Rio, but all across Brazil. Let this site be replicated for all major cities in Brazil, and letÀ¢€™s have a daily Brazil body count so that finally our politicians will wake up, and those screaming “nothing going on here” in wars zones SHUT UP.

    Shockingly, the article posted on the 5th lists 44 deaths, yet if you go into the site TODAY, the 5th, that number has already jumped to 51 dead.

  • PPGY

    Article
    The effort seems constructive, Carioca’s have been burying their collective heads in the sand about this for decades causing a situation that is out of control and not even the military can stop. A much better idea than the pathetic “BASTA!” campain.

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