Well, finally made it back "home". I am part of a group called IACE (Instituto Antonio Carlos Escobar) which is a group of volunteers in Recife that are concerned about the rising violence levels. It's a good idea to get acquainted with the group and subscribe and help campaigning.
The site that was passed on the list is this:
It's portuguese, but one post attracted my attention. I will translate it here and you should be aware of these things before you travel to Brazil:
Balanço da violência nos seis primeiros meses de 2007.
São 2447 homicídios este ano e 2301, no mesmo período do ano passado.
A média atual é de 13 assassinatos por dia no estado. No ano passado eram 12.
Maio e junho de 2007 tiveram 733 assassinatos. O mesmo período de 2006, 718.
Considerando os dados do PEbodycount sobre o mês de junho:
85 assassinatos no Recife.
110 nas demais cidades da RMR. 35 em Jaboatão.
52 na Zona da Mata. 12 em Timbaúba.
49 no Agreste. 8 em Caruaru.
43 no Sertão. 9 em Petrolina.
11 em local indeterminado.
Entre as vítimas, foram contabilizados 330 homens e 20 mulheres.
Cerca de 80% dos assassinatos foram cometidos com a utilização de arma de fogo. Não estamos aqui apenas para fazer cálculos. Por trás desses números está a nossa realidade, que infelizmente, é a traduzida por essas estatísticas como sendo muito violenta. Estamos trabalhando para fornecer um elemento vital para a cidadania: informação. Façam bom proveito.
Balance of violence in the first six months of 2007. There are 2447 murders this year (up to june) and 2301 in the last year, same period. On average, there are 13 killings per day in this state. Last year the average was 12.
May and June 2007 there were 733 murders. The same period 2006, 718.
Considering the data of PEBodyCount in the month of June only:
85 murders Recife. (3 million people) 110 in other cities of Regio Metropolitana Recife (6 million people, poorer neighborhoods) 35 in Jaboatão. 52 in "Zona da Mata". 12 in Timbaúba. 49 in Agreste. 8 in Caruaru. 43 in Sertão. 9 in Petrolina. (you should be able to find these places on Google Maps). 11 of unknown locality.
Between victims, 330 men and 20 women. About 80% of muders were committed with the utilization of firearms. We are not here to do calculations. Behind these numbers is our reality, that unfortunately, is translated through these statistics as being very violent. We are working to supply a vital element for citizenship: information. Take advantage of it.
Mind you, I lived here since 2004, but I sense bad changes for the worse over the past couple of months. Today for example, I saw in the news that a shopping centre got totally terrorized by youngsters when cinema tickets went half-price. It's basically a very large group of 13?-2x year olds. Lots of robberies, violent assaults, verbal abuse against shopkeepers, stealing, vandalism, you name it! The shopkeepers were forced to close down, since they were unable to do their work this way. Shouting everywhere, people throwing stuff, damage, vandalism. There were about 60 men to provide security, many of which were off-duty police officers.
The police rep was interviewed at the same day and they saw no particular reason for concern and reinforced that the shopping center was as safe as normal "aqui há segurança sim".
Overall, people have already commented that this state is becoming (or has become), based on statistics, more violent than the state of Rio de Janeiro. Rio actually being the city that is most known for drug trade and illegal fire-arms.
(see "Cidade de Deus" for example).
New tool in town: KnowledgeGenes.com
7 years ago