Natal Brazil

Information about the city of Natal, in Brazil.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Violence in Natal: a reality check

Alex SantanaAn official survey conducted in 2006 concluded that Natal is the safest capital city in Brazil; there are no reasons to believe that this situation had changed.

However, there are still occurrences that shock the Natalenses, and much more so the foreigners who ever become aware of them.

Today, Tribuna do Norte reports two cases.
1) Three men were loitering around a small store in Neópolis, the first District in Natal that visitors see when entering Natal (the Three Wise Kings statue is located in Neópolis). One of the men enters the store, pretends to buy cigarettes, draws a gun and robs whatever money there is in the cashier (the owner said he was assaulted three times already). Meanwhile, the other two men try to rob a car; as the car owner hesitates ("stop kidding", he says), one man draws and shoots. The owner, Alex Fernando de Santana Brito, father of two kids aged 3 and 8, died before reaching the hospital. Read more here.
2) Two men try to invade a Bingo at 3 am (the bingo is open 24 hours) in the central area of Natal. A surveillance guard (staff of the bingo; many businesses have been hiring private security for years) notices the invaders. There is a shoot out; a bandit was shot and died; his partner shot back and ran away; the guard was hit in the leg, but is doing well.

Such cases are not common, but are not rare either.
In Natal, they still cause profound indignation, and gain the headlines. In other cities, like Rio, they became routine.
In Natal, crimes are committed by individuals. In Rio, the violence is much scarier because there is a professional organization behind the crimes.

This note is in solidarity to the family of Alex Fernando de Santana Brito.


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