Rio murders fall

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The number of homicides in Rio de Janeiro state in June 2010 was lower than in any other month since 1991, according to a report released in early August by Rio's Institute for Public Security.

There were 347 murders in total: still a high per capita rate in a state with a population of around 16m, but nevertheless the continuation of a downward trend. For many years Rio de Janeiro city has suffered extremely high levels of gun violence–most of it related to the activities of armed drug gangs in the city's favelas. A disproportionate number of deaths caused by firearms are among young males near the bottom of the socioeconomic scale. The security secretary in Rio's state government, JosÉ Mariano Beltrame, attributed the fall in the murder rate to a new system of performance–related bonuses for police officers and to the recent expansion of the 'pacification' programme that has seen police units (Unidades Policiais Pacificadoras–UPPs) establish an ongoing presence in some of the favelas most affected by gun violence. The full report by Rio's Institute for Public Security (in Portuguese) can be found at www. isp. rj. gov. br.

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