The ongoing violence and drug crime in Brazil is steadily getting worse, making the country one of the worst in Latin America. According to reports there has been a steady increase in crime during the past decade. From 1999 to 2009, the number of murders in the city of Bahia grew from 430 percent, to 4,709, and last year, the state’s murder rate of 34.2 per 100,000 residents was one of the highest in the country.1 Due to the Brazilian governments dictatorship period (1978- 1988) and the growth of the drug market, the gangs have taken over certain parts of Brazil. During that time many Brazilians would live in favelas, but when certain people couldn’t afford to live there anymore they would move into a cheaper type of favela. But, with that, the cheaper favela communities grew faster than originally thought and along with that came sewage, water, and electricity problems.2 During their struggle in the poor conditions, many people would then turn to gangs for protection. Many people would wonder why a community of people would turn to gangs; drug trafficking was one of the main reasons. The drug traffickers would employ certain people who went to them for protection, which would be a big source of income for them, as well as provide assistance to the others to gain community support. As the gangs and violence got more popular in certain type of favela communities, the police had more difficulty entering the neighborhoods without being involved in shootouts or stopping drug related exchanges. So, in many instances the people of the community would side with gang members out of fear and anger towards police because they violated their safety. 3 To go along with that, corrupt politicians still to this day, help strengthen and provide dominance to the gangs by offering incentives to those who voted and gave them political support. The government, knowing they couldn’t do much, offered little opposition, and with that gangs still remained in control of the favelas.
Insufficient law enforcement force allows gang presence and drug trafficking to remain predominant throughout Brazil. Although the government is aware of the gang and drug problems in favelas, the upper-level politicians do not have effective control over lower-level political leaders of cities. Without taking prior authorization or effective measures, politicians have tried to stop the violence In favelas, too no avail. Doing so has only made measures worse causing the gangs to provoke crime and violence to the police brutality. According to one unnamed police officer he was quoted saying, “there’s really no way to stop the gangs in favelas, when we exterminate one, another one moves in”. Along with these problems to resolve the gang issues, there are many corrupt politicians and police officers that accept bribes to reduce law enforcement in favelas that stop the drug operations. An example would be when Rio De Janiero’s former governor was in office. During his term he was convicted of corruption for providing aid for drug gangs and money laundering.i
As of today, a lack of much needed resources and living conditions, allows gangs to maintain control over the poor communities, and create miserable conditions for their neighbors. Along with the horrible conditions, nobody wants to live in certain streets or cities in Brazil because of the risk of being caught up in drug related activities or shoot outs. For instance thousands of teenagers are being schooled in crime throughout Brazil’s biggest cities making it nearly impossible to fully stop crime. If the police in Brazil can’t stop gangs and other cartels from violence and drug use, how will they be able to stop a bunch of young kids to go along with that?
It is well known that many young teens in Brazil get jailed for offenses that are serious, as well as not serious. As L.A. Tmes reported many young children in the juvenile