Recently, Rio de Janeiro Public Security Institute (ISP) disclosed the complete set of data containing crimes reported in the state during 2022. This allowed the analysis of the variations in the numbers of crimes reported in comparison to 2021. In all, the numbers reflect many trends that have been highlighted throughout the last year, with positive and negative results for the security scenario.
In the capital, intentional homicides increased a by a small margin of 4% (792 to 823), probably reflecting an intensification in armed conflicts between gangs. On the other hand, despite the still high numbers of deaths reported during police operations against the organized crime, the initiatives implemented to reduce police lethality may have had initial results. Deaths perpetrated by state agents fell by 4%.
In terms of crimes against property, pedestrian robbery, one of the most common and potentially dangerous crimes, fell by 3%, even though small, a positive result. On the other hand, the number of cell phone robberies increased by 21%, indicating the continued interest of criminals in this device, which carries a high potential for profit, beyond the simple resale of the device or its parts. With the popularization of bank apps, digital accounts, and the simplification of money transfer through the implementation of Pix, with a stolen cell phone, robbers can steal savings from their victims accounts and even their personal information, which will be used later for several types of scams.
This trend of appreciation of cell phones by criminals is verified in the thefts reported as well. Cell phone thefts increased by 123% from 2021 to 2022. This number, associated to many other categories, such as thefts in public transport (+53%), vehicle theft (+18%), pedestrian theft (+64%) and more, were responsible for the 53% increase in total cases of theft.
Another relevant rise in cases occurred with express kidnappings, which went up by 98% in the city. Here too, the invention of Pix, cell phones and the digitalization of people’s financial lives is probably an important factor.
For many years robbers and thieves started to focus on ATMs, instead of risking an attack directly against the banks. Many have also preferred to rob people that had just withdrawn large amounts of money, the famous “saidinha de banco” or robbery after withdrawal. Many criminals would also prefer to quickly kidnap someone with the intention of forcing the victim to withdraw money through an ATM, instead of risking a traditional and riskier type of kidnapping.
All the crimes above have decreased from 2021 to 2022:
- ATM robbery -40%
- Bank robbery -20%
- Robbery after withdrawal -30%
- Forced money withdrawal -13%
- Traditional kidnapping -100%
The combination of Pix transactions and bank apps on cellphones likely impacted this scenario, since criminals found a new way to “access” the money stored in the banks. They attack their victims on the streets or attract them through many ways, even by using dating apps, and then force them to transfer their money using Pix.
The rise in the number of scams has been reported for a few years. It is likely a global phenomenon connected to the social isolation and the digitalization of life. In the digital world, scammers found a great environment to catch new victims. Thus, the city of Rio has just continued to follow the trend when in 2022 it accumulated a 64% increase in incidents registered.
Rio de Janeiro is known for the several organized crime groups in its territory. The major groups, like the militias, are known for obtaining resources through different illegal methods, such as extortion. Residents, microentrepreneurs, and even large companies can be targeted. Even though many victims of extortion prefer not to file a complaint due to fear of retaliation, the total number of this type of crime reported has increased by 48% in 2022.
Rio de Janeiro South Zone followed the trends observed in the city. The highlights are the following:
- There was a 5% increase in pedestrian robberies
- Express kidnappings rose by 267%
- A 58% increase in scams was verified
- The total cases of robbery went up by 7% and total thefts by 54%
- There was a 27% rise in robberies focused on cell phones and a 102% of cell phone thefts