Between 1980 and 2010 there were 1 million homicides in Brazil. Dramatic increases in homicide rates followed rises in inequality, more young men in the population, greater availability of firearms, and increased drug use. Nevertheless, disarmament legislation may have helped reduce homicide rates in recent years. Despite its very high rate of lethal violence, Brazil appears to have similar levels of general criminal victimization as several other Latin American and North American countries. Brazil has lower rates of drug use compared to other countries such as the United States, but the prevalence of youth drug use in Brazil has increased substantially in recent years. Since 1990, the growth of the Brazilian prison population has been enormous, resulting in the fourth largest prison population in the world. Through a systematic review of the literature, we identified 10 studies assessing the prevalence of self-reported offending in Brazil and 9 studies examining risk factors. Levels of self-reported offending seem quite high among school students in Brazil. Individual and family-level risk factors identified in Brazil are very similar to those found in high-income countries.
Between 1980–2010 the Brazilian homicide rate rose to one of the highest worldwide.
Levels of non-lethal victimization in Brazil seem similar to other American nations.
Rates of self-reported offending are quite high among school children in Brazil.
Individual and family risk factors are similar to those in high-income countries.
More systematic official and self-report crime data collection is needed in Brazil.