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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1680-5348Print version ISSN 1020-4989


PERES, Maria Fernanda Tourinho et al. Decline in homicide rates in São Paulo, Brasil: a descriptive analysis. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2011, vol.29, n.1, pp.17-26. ISSN 1680-5348.

OBJECTIVE: To describe homicide mortality in the municipality of São Paulo according to type of weapon, sex, race or skin color, age, and areas of socioeconomic inequalities, between 1996 and 2008. METHOD: For this ecological time-series study, data about deaths in the municipality of São Paulo were collected from the municipal program for improvement of mortality information, using International Classification of Diseases, 10th revision (ICD-10) codes. Homicide mortality rates (HMR) were calculated for the overall population and specifically for each sex, race or skin color, age range, type of weapon, and occurrence in social deprivation/affluence areas. HMR were adjusted for age using the direct method. The percentage age of variation in HMR was calculated for the study period. For areas of socioeconomic inequalities, the relative risk of death from homicide was calculated. RESULTS: HMR fell 73.7% between 2001 and 2008. A reduction in HMR was observed in all groups, especially males (-74.5%), young men between 15 and 24 years of age (-78.0%), and residents in areas of extreme socioeconomic deprivation (-79.3%). The reduction occurred mostly in firearm homicide rates (-74.1%). The relative risk of death from homicide in areas of extreme socioeconomic deprivation, as compared to areas with some degree of socioeconomic deprivation, was 2.77 in 1996, 3.9 in 2001, and 2.13 in 2008. In areas of high socioeconomic deprivation, the relative risk was 2.07 in 1996 and 1.96 in 2008. CONCLUSIONS: To understand the reduction in homicide rates in the municipality of São Paulo, it is important to take into consideration macrodeterminants that affect the entire municipality and all population subgroups, as well as micro/local determinants that have special impact on homicides committed with firearms and on subgroups such as the young, males, and residents of areas of high socioeconomic deprivation.

Keywords : Homicide; mortality; times series studies; Brasil.

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