SAO PAULO (AP) — Police in the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo killed more people between January and September than they did during the same period for the past 10 years — and twice as many as the same period a year ago, according to law enforcement officials.
The Public Safety Department of the country's largest and most populous state said on its website that 478 people were killed in confrontations with police during the first nine months of this year.
That's almost 100 percent more than the 240 people killed during the same period in 2013.
According to the data released by the department, 10 police officers were killed on duty during the period — the lowest for the period in 10 years.
Jose Vicente da Silva, of the Center of Advanced Security Studies of the Sao Paulo police department attributed the increase in the number of people killed by police to an all-or-nothing attitude by suspected criminals.
"Rather than turn themselves in to the police, criminals prefer to open fire. This is what is causing the increase," he told the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper. "To avoid being arrested they prefer to confront the police."
"It is a worrisome situation and prosecutors should investigate to determine the legality of each case," he added.