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IBGE survey shows underreporting of robberies and thefts in Brazil

Data from the Continuous National Household Sample Survey (PNAD) for the last quarter of 2021 show that most robberies and thefts in the country do not come to the attention of police authorities. According to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), in only 44.8% of the cases of street theft, which occurred in the period of one year before the survey, the victims reported to have wanted the police.IBGE survey shows underreporting of robberies and thefts in Brazil

Even among these people, not all registered the occurrence. Of those who sought help from the police authority, 11.2% decided not to formally register at the police station.

In cases of theft, 57.9% of victims robbed in the street did not seek help from the police, as well as 57.1% of those who were robbed at home and 52.4% of those who were forced to hand over their bicycle to the assailant.

As in the case of theft, even among those who sought police help, not all registered the incident at the police station.

Among the reasons for not going to the police in cases of robbery, respondents by Pnad highlighted: they did not believe in the police (26.9%), resorted to third parties or solved it themselves (24.3%), lack of evidence (15.2 %) and fear of retaliation (12.8%).

The cases of robberies and thefts cited do not consider crimes involving the subtraction of vehicles, which the PNAD considered separately from robberies/thefts on the street or those that occurred inside the home.

In cases of robbery/theft of cars and motorcycles, underreporting is much lower. With regard to cars, in 80.3% of thefts and in 91% of robberies the victim went to the police. In the case of motorcycles, 84.9% of thefts and 82.5% of robberies came to the attention of a police authority.

The records of occurrences in these cases also exceed 90% of those who sought help from the police (92.5% in car thefts and 93.8% in motorcycle thefts), reaching close to 100% in the case of thefts (98.5 % in cars and 97.9% in motorcycles).

“Cars and motorcycles are the ones that have the highest demand rate [por ajuda policial]mainly due to the issue of insurance”, explains IBGE researcher Alessandra Brito.

PNAD also showed that in 5.8% of households in the country, at least one resident was the victim of robbery or theft in the period of one year before the survey carried out in the last quarter of 2021. This survey revealed that 4% of respondents reported that a resident of their house was a victim of theft and 2% said that there were victims of theft among the residents of that household.

The survey also shows that robberies outside the home (except for car, motorcycle and bicycle thefts) accounted for 78.5% of theft cases (1.4 million cases), followed by home robberies (11.3 %), bicycle thefts (3.3%), motorcycle thefts (6.6%) and car thefts (7.6%).

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