(Bloomberg) -- The Brazilian Amazon is home to 13 of the country’s 30 most violent cities as drug trafficking is adding to environmental crimes that have traditionally plagued the region.
The number of intentional violent deaths in those cities topped 100 per 100,000 inhabitants between 2019 and 2021, compared with the national average of 22.3, according a survey published Tuesday by the Brazilian Public Security Forum, a Sao Paulo-based think tank.
Violence in the Amazon grabbed international headlines this month when British journalist Dom Phillips and indigenous activist Bruno Pereira were murdered after interviewing indigenous communities about illegal incursions by hunters, loggers and fisherman. Deforestation, land grabbing and illegal mining have long been a problem in the rainforest.
Read More: Brazil Police Say Suspect Admits Killing Phillips, Pereira
“Several different types of crimes overlap in the Amazon due to its borders with strategic countries and drug trafficking,” said Isabela Sobral, a researcher and data coordinator at the Security Forum. “In addition, in recent years there has been an expansion of criminal factions which left Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, heading to the north.”
Environmental and public safety agencies don’t have enough resources to fight powerful criminal organizations that are disputing national and transnational drug routes across the forest, she said. In recent years, she added, the western Amazonian city of Tabatinga, on the tripple border of Brazil, Colombia and Peru, became one of most disputed cities by drug traffickers.
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