Race Differences in Police Violence and Crime Victimization in Brazil

Jun 2019
We test for racial differences in crime victimization between whites and Afro-descendants in the form of thefts, robberies, sexual and physical assaults and police aggressions in Brazil. We explore the presence of skin color tone bias in victimization by the police. Methods With a novel dataset produced by the Ministry of Justice of Brazil in 2012, we use 6 different logit regression models to estimate marginal effects. We found that the probabilities of thefts and verbal aggressions by the police, even after controlling for all the considered individual and community variables, are higher for Afro-descendants. African descent women are more likely to be victims of theft and physical aggression by the police, while white women are more likely to be robbed. In the case of men, Afro-descendants have higher probabilities of being victims of thefts, robberies and verbal aggressions by the police. Regarding skin color bias, the probability of verbal and physical victimization by the police is higher for darker skin individuals. Because of its strategic importance to citizen security policy-making, further race-based data collection is needed, as well as research on the effectiveness of police targeting practices.