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The Other Champions of Brazil’s Carnaval: Violence and Death

Arrastão, the trio elétrico that ends Salvador's Carnaval

Arrastão, the trio elétrico that ends Salvador's Carnaval Carnaval in Brazil is a time of excesses: excess of fun, music, drinks, drugs and sex. And once again it was also a season of increased violent deaths. The final numbers haven't been compiled yet. But according to numbers available yesterday night, February 21, there have been at least 99 deaths on the roads.

As for murders São Paulo state had 57, while the much less populated Pernambuco had 70 of them. Ironically, Pernambuco, which has 8.5 million inhabitants, was celebrating the fact that the number of homicides had fallen 11% from a year ago, when 79 people were murdered in the state. In Pernambuco's capital, Recife, with 1.5 million people, 22 were killed.

According to Pernambuco's SDS (Social Defense Secretariat), 51 people were arrested in flagrante delicto and 4,805 bottles of loló were apprehended. Loló is a homemade concoction using ether and perfume that people use to get high since lança-perfume, the industrial version of loló, was made illegal in the 60s.

With 37 million people, São Paulo had a more modest participation in the murder statistics contributing with 57 assassinations. Once again, the number of homicides shrunk when compared to 2006. Last year 81 people were killed in the state during Carnaval.

Then there are all those lucky people who were close to death but their time hadn't come. There were 72 murder attempts throughout São Paulo state this year, well below the 103 of 2006.

According to São Paulo Public Security Secretariat other crimes that dropped were thefts (from 1,402 to 1052) and robberies (from 761 to 667). On the other hand, car theft went up 8% and cases of alcohol intoxication grew 82% from 235 cases to 429.

Minas Gerais state had the larger number of people killed on the roads: 33. There were 22 deaths in Santa Catarina's highways. In a collision between a Volkswagen Gol and a truck at BR-101 seven people died.

Road accidents also killed 14 people in the southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul. In Paraná, also in the South, 306 car accidents brought death to 23 people and injuries to other 253.

In terms of generalized violence, northeastern state of Bahia, gets the top prize. While the Public Security Secretariat tallied only 6 murders, there were 1,622 police cases.

80 of them involved the attack against buses known as arrastão, a criminal practice in which buses are stopped and everybody inside, is forced under the gun to hand over their money, jewelry and other possessions. Bahia's police authorities concede that this Carnaval was 30% more violent than the past one.

The strategy adopted this year by Bahia's Military Police of concentrating their men where the Carnaval parades were taking place left Salvador's neighborhoods without protection. Thieves and robbers took advantage assaulting, with relish and the certainty of going unpunished, residences, buses and pedestrians.

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  • Show Comments (15)

  • Ric

    Real Intelligent Brazilian
    Would you then say that Carnaval is a time of moderation? How then would one define “excess”, or is there no such thing in your opinion?

  • Gerry

    Comparing small American cities to Rio is deliberately misleading and a complete fallacy since Rio’s murder rate by nature is distributed far more unevenly.

    Let’s compare Duque de Caixas with New Orleans, Washington etc.

  • Ric

    REALLY BAD IN THE STATES
    From the Interlake:

    “Maybe She Was Setting a Booby Trap?
    The Flathead County SheriffÀ‚´s Department got a report of a woman baring her breasts to passing cars on U.S. 2 west of Kalispell Thursday night.”

    RicÀ‚´s comment: ItÀ‚´s been getting down to less than 20 degrees F. most nights in that area. Gotta really want to do it at that temp.

  • Thaddeus Blanchette

    C.ch, what’s the matter? Didn’t they up your Xanax dosage yet?

  • bo

    [quote]ITÀ‚´S WORSE IN THE STATES, BO
    written by Ric, 2007-02-23 01:03:31

    Whitefish police answered the call at about 1 a.m. [this morning] on East Second Street, where a 19 year old man was fighting his friend who tried to get him home. He ran from officers, then urinated on the jail-cell floor after being arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. For that, they added a count of crininal mischief. (Daily Interlake, Kalispell, Montana)
    [/quote]

    damn, that is bad, at least here in brazil they piss on the sidewalk.

  • Ric

    ITÀ‚´S WORSE IN THE STATES, BO
    Whitefish police answered the call at about 1 a.m. [this morning] on East Second Street, where a 19 year old man was fighting his friend who tried to get him home. He ran from officers, then urinated on the jail-cell floor after being arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. For that, they added a count of crininal mischief. (Daily Interlake, Kalispell, Montana)

  • bo

    [quote]professional partier
    written by gringo living in Rio, 2007-02-22 23:45:24

    Yeah…Emerson is a douch, he just wants to scare everyone from coming and enjoying Carnaval. I have been running around like a drunkem maniac and have had no probs what so ever. Yeah…s**t goes down, but it does anywhere in the world when you have people gettin’ loaded.[/quote]

    Well there ya have it! One drunk foreigner that has went to carnaval looking for the mystical “brazilian gang-bang” and came out unscathed.

    “Ok everybody, it’s safe to go back into the water!”

  • gringo living in Rio

    professional partier
    Yeah…Emerson is a douch, he just wants to scare everyone from coming and enjoying Carnaval. I have been running around like a drunkem maniac and have had no probs what so ever. Yeah…shit goes down, but it does anywhere in the world when you have people gettin’ loaded.

  • A real Brazilian

    “Carnaval in Brazil is a time of excesses: excess of fun, music, drinks, drugs and sex. ” refering to this sentence.

  • A real Brazilian

    Àƒ‰merson, I am not 100% Brazilian, but you are. Tell me, have you ever used lanÀƒ§a-perfume, or even lolÀƒ³ in Bahia’s carnival? I mean, hey you are a Brazilian and you know so much. you sound a redneck now. If you didn’t use it, how can write as everyone in Brazil does it, how can you write such a stereotyping picture? LOL what an idiot.

  • CH.C.

    To Blanchette !
    Yesssss….violent deaths is the same as being murdered !

    Brazilians are hiding themselves, wishing to manipulate shameful stats :

    Please read and look at the country 2005 stats…for crimes and violent deaths….not cars, traffic deaths, suicides or whatever :

    2005 Homicides

    Brazil – population = 185 million = 55,300 murders

    U.S. – population = 300 million = 14,000 murders

    anyone got a calculator…as Bo wrote ?

    Of course….a Brazilian calculator, the same Lula uses when he is so proud of his economic achievements !!!!!! smile -;-))))

  • Thaddeus Blanchette

    77 dead in a metro region of – what – 10 million?

    So that’s .77 per 100,000 in 6 days. We multiply that by 61 (365 days in a year), that gives us a death rate of around 47 per 100,000 per year – roughly the level of Washington D.C., New Orleans or Baltimore in the U.S. High, no doubt, but not the screaming catastrophe Emerson makes it out to be.

    In fact, it’s about par for the course for SP, slightly higher than the average fo all of last year, which is incredible when one thinks about the number of drunken fools running around the city streets during Carnaval.

    So why is this news or enough to put violence and death as the “champions” of Carnaval, Emerson?

  • Thaddeus Blanchette

    Can we have a source for these stats or are we to take them at face value? Sounds to me like someone’s confusing murders with violent deaths, which are two different things, but I could be wrong. So what’s the source for these numbers Emerson?

  • Ric

    “Carnaval” doesnÀ‚´t come from the word “carne”. It comes from the Latin, “carrus navalis”…..Ship of Fools.

  • bo

    [quote]In terms of generalized violence, northeastern state of Bahia, gets the top prize. While the Public Security Secretariat tallied only 6 murders, there were 1,622 police cases.

    80 of them involved the attack against buses known as arrastÀƒ£o, a criminal practice in which buses are stopped and everybody inside, is forced under the gun to hand over their money, jewelry and other possessions. Bahia’s police authorities concede that this Carnaval was 30% more violent than the past one.

    The strategy adopted this year by Bahia’s Military Police of concentrating their men where the Carnaval parades were taking place left Salvador’s neighborhoods without protection. Thieves and robbers took advantage assaulting, with relish and the certainty of going unpunished, residences, buses and pedestrians. [/quote]

    Jesus, travel through there all the time. Glad I stayed home this year.

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