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Assessing São Paulo's Large Drop in Homicides: The Role of Demography and Policy Interventions

Assessing São Paulo's Large Drop in Homicides: The Role of Demography and Policy Interventions

Chapter:
(p.207) 6 Assessing São Paulo's Large Drop in Homicides: The Role of Demography and Policy Interventions
Source:
The Economics of Crime
Author(s):
João M. P. de MelloAlexandre SchneiderErnesto Schargrodsky
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226153766.003.0007

This chapter analyzes the role of demography and policy interventions in explaining the large drop in homicides experienced by São Paulo, Brazil. It attributes a positive role to several policy interventions including the creation of municipal police forces, the implementation of dry laws, gun control policies, the use of crime geo-referencing and criminal identification systems, and increases in incarceration. The authors feel that these factors cannot really account for the geographic and dynamic crime patterns. They explain that demographic changes fit well with the pattern of increase and reduction in homicides in São Paulo and other areas of Brazil. A different approach to the study of crime is needed, one that relies on estimating the role of long-run underlying trends to calculate the proportion of current crime rates that can be attributed to forces beyond the immediate control of policymakers.

Keywords:   São Paulo, Brazil, homicides, policy intervention, demography, crime patterns, crime rates

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