April 1, 2010

Violent Brazil

We love living in Brazil and serving the Lord here, and we absolutely love the people. Brazil is one of the most beautiful countries in the world and has some of the most wonderful people, but it is also a violent country with serious crime problems. Major cities such as Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro have done well in reducing their homicide rates, but they are still regarded as very dangerous places with very high crime rates. In 1999 Sao Paulo had 35.7 homicides per 100,000 residents, and the rate has dropped significantly to 10 per 100,000 residents. But robberies, carjackings, and kidnappings are very common and are still huge problems, as are drug related crimes. "Express kidnappings" are common too, which is where someone is abducted and forced to withdraw money from an ATM machine in order to be released. We have 2 good friends in the Sao Paulo area who were abducted like this several years ago. We personally know at least 10 people in the Sao Paulo area who have been robbed, kidnapped, or have had their car stolen in the last 3 years.

Here are the homicide rates for some major cities in Brazil and some for major cities in the US for comparison; the numbers shown are the yearly number of homicides per 100,000 residents:

Juruena - 139 New Orleans - 63.6
Maceio - 104 Washington DC - 46
Recife - 91 Detroit - 42
Vitoria - 89 Baltimore - 38
Curitiba - 49 Memphis - 25
Salvador - 42 Chicago - 22
Rio de Jan. - 38 Philadelphia - 19
Manaus - 35 Columbus - 18
Sao Luis - 28 Los Angeles - 17.5
Sao Paulo - 10 Dallas - 16

Some of this can be explained by the fact that there are many many more poor people in Brazil than in the US, and thus the higher crime rates. It also indicates a spiritual need. Only the Lord Jesus can touch, heal, and restore & regenerate a life. He is mightily at work in Brazil, and it is a privilege to join Him in His work.

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