Homicide in the Brazilian favela: Does opportunity make the killer?

Elenice De Souza, Joel Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


High rates of homicide in Brazil are heavily concentrated in poor urban shanty towns or 'favelas'. This paper looks beyond conventional social and economic explanations of homicides, and examines the relationship between situational factors and homicide incidents within a case-study favela in the city of Belo Horizonte. Initial exploratory research identified potential mechanisms linking local situational characteristics with homicide. A matched casecontrol study then tested hypotheses based on these mechanisms. When the characteristics of 100 addresses of homicide incidents were compared with those of 100 nearby non-homicide addresses, they showed statistical associations with drug areas, bars, alleys, windows onto the street and vehicular traffic, lending general empirical support to theorized situational mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)786-807
Number of pages22
JournalBritish Journal of Criminology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2012


  • environmental criminology
  • favela
  • homicide
  • situational factors


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