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 | Ilustração: Osvalter Urbinati e Robson Vilalba
| Foto: Ilustração: Osvalter Urbinati e Robson Vilalba

Statistics

81% of the cases analyzed by Gazeta do Povo are gun-related homicides. Deaths caused by cold weapons come second.

56% of the homicides involved victims who used or sold drugs. 25.3% of the victims had a police record.

Family requests better treatment

"Police officers do not work properly. They do not do anything. For them, a drug user is not a human being." This statement was made by Marcos Redkva, Naiane´s brother. Naiane was murdered in January 2010. Her body was found in the Atuba Riber on January 27th, possibly three days after the crime occurred. The inquiry was only set up fifteen months later, in April 2011. He claims that he received disrespectful treatment when he went testifying.

"It lacks investment, structure, but also will. When a case receives popular support, there the police do its job," says Neiva, another sibling of Naiane. She claims that the first difficulty she faced was a constant quarrel between the police departments of Colombo and the Homicide Unit regarding the location where the body was found – at the border between Colombo and Curitiba.

According to Neiva, the family gave information which could help the police solve the crime, but no suspect has been indicted until today. She says that the team of the Homicide Unit was attentive, but the family wants more. "We want the crime to be solved, that they find the murderer and that we are granted access to all the information."

Most homicides are gun-related

Out of the one thousand deaths analyzed by Gazeta do Povo reporters, 810 involved fire arms. This figure comes close to the results found the previous years by the Map the Violence program (Mapa da Violência), from the Brazilian Center of Latin American Studies.

According to the study carried out by the Fire-arms Map in Brazilian Micro Regions program, from the Institute of Applied Economic Research (IPEA), there is a strong relationship between the quantity of guns and violence. In the Brazilian micro regions which have that largest amount of fire arms, the homicide rate is 7.4% higher than in the 20 regions with the lowest amount of guns. "One of the crucial measures to be taken so as to guarantee better public safety in Brazil is the disarmament of the population," concludes the study.

February 2013: In the Tatuquara neighborhood, one day after the murder of A.J.B., the police recorded its first statement. The witness said that the victim was a drug user. The police then said it has not found any other witness and suggested to close the inquiry. The Public Prosecutor Office and the Judiciary accepted the suggestion.

May 2010: Police interviewed the first and only witness found in the inquiry of JGH´s murder. As a drug user, he has been murdered a month earlier in the Uberaba neighborhood. The inquiry was officially set up by the police sixteen months after the crime took place and continues without suspect.

October 2010: J.A. used drugs and had little contact with his family. He barely visited his relatives when he was murdered in the Tatuquara neighborhood. His relatives know little to inform the police which only took one single witness statement. The case was filed in February 2013 and remains unsolved.

January 2010: A.R.´s body was found in a street of the Bairro Alto neighborhood with two gun shots in the head. A.R. was a thirty-three year old drug addict. In the first report, issued 14 months after the crime, a cousin said the motive behind the murder must have been a drug debt. Police closed the case saying that it was impossible to solve the murder due to the "code of silence."

Alexander, Jean Carlos, Gustavo and Daniel did not know each other, but shared a similar history: they were between 21 and 30 years old when they were murdered by drug traffickers, according to witnesses. The study of the one thousand deaths that took place in Curitiba between 2010 and 2013 carried out by Gazeta do Povo’s reporters shows that men involved with drugs in that particular age range were the most common victims of homicides.

Drugs are not always the main motive behind crimes, but a majority of the victims are drug users or dealers. This situation was found in 562 out of 1,000 homicide cases. These inquiries usually are carried out like any other, but due to some factors, the resolution rate of homicides related to drug is lower.

When narcotics are involved, the police has more difficulties to interview witnesses, due to the fear of reprisals. There are on average 3.5 witness statements against 4.1 when the case does not involve drug. Another problem to solve the crime is the lapse of time between the crime and the moment the police first interview a witness – who can deliver an anonymous statement. In cases related to drugs, the first testimony is made 97 days on average after the crime. The average for murders who do not involve drugs is much shorter: 63 days.

The use of material evidence such as ballistic examinations, fingerprints and cell-phone analysis, also is lower when cases involve drugs: they represent 13% of the 562 inquiries. In inquiries which do not involve drugs, material evidence amount to 20% of the cases.

IndictmentDue to all the reasons listed above, police indicted a suspect in only 9.2% of the drug-related homicide cases. Considering all cases, this rate goes up to 15%.

The inquiries of the four individuals mentioned in the beginning of the article are still opened and none of them has a suspect – despite the fact that the police interviewed several witnesses who provided the names of potential suspects. Daniel owed money to traffickers and his mother as well as an anonymous witness delivered the name of the supposed author of the murder. Gustavo was killed about a month after surviving a murder attempt.

In the reports, names of criminals involved in the murder were mentioned. Jean Carlos was a drug user and his father had several times paid his debt to traffickers. Alexander´s father reported that the son used and sold drugs and provided the police with the names of three suspects who may have had killed the son.

Lack of investigationAccording to researcher Luis Felipe Zilli do Nascimento from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, it is impossible to give the same treatment to drug-related crimes. "Behind this big shadow that is drug trafficking lay homicides ranging from passion crimes to gang wars, to conquer drug corners. We need to distinguish and take a deeper look at each particular case." His research suggests that the root of these crimes should be investigated more in depth as their resolution should contribute to reduce not only the number of murders but also other crimes that take place in the city. The state needs to present in violent area, reports the policeGeographical analysis of crime is one of the strategies used by police authorities. The General-Commander of the Military Police of the State of Paraná, Colonel Roberson Luiz Bondaruk, as an expert on the topic, says that areas with little public lights, abandoned land slots, are more likely to be the scenes of violent crimes. "In neglected areas, either by the dwellers or by the authorities, criminals know that the risk of being denounced is lower."

According to Bondaruk, the most needing places need better access to every type of public services. "Recurrent crime does not result from looser policing. It has a strong relationship with the environment." Yet, when there is no urban planning, police needs to be more present in these poorer areas, therefore leading to more frequent police round ups, he says.

In March 2012, the State government created Paraná Unit for Safety (UPS) aiming at improving safety and public services in areas most affected by crime. There are currently ten units in Curitiba, all located where most crimes occur. "The goal is to develop a system of social sustainability. We first establish policing. Then every other basic public service has to be established so as to show that these areas belong to the citizens as well," he explains.

A national issuePolice chief Rubens Recalcatti, who has been serving as the head of the Homicide Unit for the past two years, claims that a more efficient action from the public authorities is needed to reduce the number of homicides.

According to him, it is a national issue. "The country does not move forward on basic issues such as education and health. These are actually getting worse."Prosecutor Marcela Marinho Rodrigues, from the Police Inquiry and Crimes Against Human Life Office, shares this opinion. According to her, repression is important but it cannot solve crime itself. To her, the state needs to act to create a stable social structure to provide support for every family.

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