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Apr 2, 2024, 6:41pm EDT
South America
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Brazilians say crime now the biggest issue facing their country

Insights from Bloomberg, Brookings Institution, Al Jazeera


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President of Brazil Luis Inácio Lula Da Silva.
Buda Mendes/Getty Images
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The News

A majority of Brazilians believe crime is now the biggest issue facing the country despite a falling murder rate, a new survey found, presenting a pressing issue for President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva as dissatisfaction with his administration mounts.

About 60% of Brazilians now rank crime as the top concern facing Brazil, according to a March survey by São Paulo-based research firm AtlasIntel. It was closely followed by corruption, with 58.8% saying corruption was the main issue, and only 15% citing the economy.

Concerns over crime come despite homicide rates falling to 47,398 in 2022 — about 10,000 fewer than four years earlier, according to Bloomberg. Criminals’ tactics are changing, with a fall in the number of robberies during the pandemic replaced by an explosion in embezzlement and phishing scams.

Petty crime is also widespread, with another survey suggesting that one in three São Paulo residents has had their cellphone stolen, thefts that often go unreported.

The country’s leftist president Lula’s approval ratings have dropped to about 35% in recent months, according to one poll, the lowest levels of his term.

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SIGNALS

Semafor Signals: Global insights on today's biggest stories.

Brazil is a top destination for cybercrime

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Sources:  
The Economist, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Brazil has one of the highest rates of digital banking and instant payments in the world — but its fintech boom has led to a bonanza for cybercriminals, according to The Economist, with cybercrime costing the country an estimated $20 billion each year. The country is a top destination for Trojans — programs that steal users’ personal bank details — with more than 1.8 million infections attempted from June 2022 to July 2023, the newspaper reported, citing data from cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab. While Brazil is among the Latin American countries that is best at cyber defense, its strategy suffers from a “lack of clarity and complementary,” two authors argued in a paper for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace last year.

Brazil’s indigenous Amazon communities suffer as crime gangs grow more international

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Sources:  
Brookings, Él Pais, Al Jazeera

Brazil’s powerful organized crime gangs are becoming more international as they look to extend their efforts beyond the country’s borders, the Brookings Institution reported, with rival groups vying for control of illegal logging, drug smuggling, mining and wildlife trade in the Amazon.

Once a prison gang, Primeiro Comando da Capital has transformed into a “transnational criminal leviathan” – one of the most powerful organized crime groups in the world, Brookings reported, adding that the group will likely “look for opportunities to consolidate gains abroad.”

The NGO Fórum Brasileiro de Segurança Pública recorded 22 criminal gangs operating in the Amazon, whose criminal activities have also devastated indigenous groups such as the Yanomami. One São Paulo-based journalist argued that Lula’s efforts to combat crime are “clearly not enough,” and that these communities “run the risk of being once again forgotten and ignored.”

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