Poverty, segregation, inequality and lack of access to public services combine in Brazil, resulting in a grave situation of violence in one of the fastest growing countries on Earth. “Targeting Violence Reduction in Brazil: Policy Implications from a Spatial Analysis of Homicide” is a report produced by the Latin America Initiative of the Brooking Institute that seeks to identify the impact of public policies in homicide rates, using Brazil as a case of study. Going even further, the report has as an objective to provide a guide on how to modify existing policies for them to be more effective using evidence-based methods. Ingram and Da costa provide evidence on how poverty reduction programs have a direct impact on the reduction of violence in the communities where this sort of projects are applied. Also, they emphasize on the need to prioritize hot-spot policing over other types of policing due to its effectiveness shown in reality.
The authors develop their study by desegregating Brazil into its respective municipalities, building a new map of homicides in the country. What the map shows in a first instance is the unequal distribution of violence between municipalities and the influence that a predominately violent municipality could have on its neighbors. Data showed that violence spills out of the municipalities into the bordering regions. The most visible evidence of it is the cluster of violent municipalities at the East Cost of Brazil: from Rio de Janeiro to the State of Ceara at the North of the mentioned coast. All violent crimes studied (homicide of males, femicide, homicide of young population and homicide of black people) have a remarkable high rate in that area. This phenomenon can also be seen in the state of Para and Mato Grosso.
When analyzing the types of homicides to define hot and cold spots of violence, gender plays an important variable: municipalities considered as cold spots for homicides to males or youth population are however hot spots for femicides. Still, in broad terms males are the ones most involved in violence and homicides as the data shows. The role of women in preventing violence is prevalent corresponding to the evidence: while families where the mother is both responsible for the children and working are more prone to be involved in violent situations, those who receive monetary incentives from the government constitute a source for stability and economic revival for their municipalities. Programs such as “Bolsa Familia” are then a model to follow in poverty and violence prevention as they are for social inclusion and equality.