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The Market for Illicit Drugs and Homicide in Brazil: A Comparative Study of the Cities of Belo Horizonte (MG) and Maceió (AL)


This article analyzes the impact of the illicit drug market on the incidence of homicides in the cities of Belo Horizonte (MG) and Maceió (AL). The final reports of police investigations of homicides whose authorship was identified in the respective cities in the 2012-2013 biennium were consulted. A typology of homicide motivations was elaborated, from which each case was categorized. The main finding of this research is that the illicit drug market is a relevant motivation for homicides in both cities. However, this correlation has a lower magnitude than what is generally propagated by public security authorities. A significant number of homicides whose motivation was not related to the dynamics of the illicit drug market, but whose authors were involved in this type of criminal activity, were also identified. This phenomenon was called the spread of violence through the illicit drug market .

homicide; drugs; violence; illicit market; drug trafficking

Instituto de Estudos Sociais e Políticos (IESP) da Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (UERJ) R. da Matriz, 82, Botafogo, 22260-100 Rio de Janeiro RJ Brazil, Tel. (55 21) 2266-8300, Fax: (55 21) 2266-8345 - Rio de Janeiro - RJ - Brazil