In Rio favelas, weak property rights can be lethal for young men

    by Chris Arsenault, Thomson Reuters Foundation
    Wednesday, 15 June 2016 11:23 BST

Former drug gang member and now expert in MMA (Mixed Martial Arts), Fabio da Conceicao Ventura, nicknamed Nativo, pauses while training in a gym inside the Chapeu Mangueira favela in Rio de Janeiro, May 3, 2011. Life for Nativo, who was born in the slum and was only five when he watched his mother set fire to herself, changed when he found in martial arts a way out of the world of narcotics to become a boxing instructor and professional MMA fighter. Picture taken May 3. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes

With an average of 11 murders per day, violent crime remains a major problem in Rio, according to figures from Brazil's Public Security Institute (ISP), a government body.

In favelas like Cantagalo, a bustling community on a hillside overlooking Copacabana beach in downtown Rio, where people often lack formal documents to prove they own their ramshackle homes, young men are disproportionately impacted by violence, analysts said.

"There is no clear definition of who owns the land in Cantagalo," said Vinicius Mariano de Carvalho, a lecturer at King's College London specializing in Brazilian politics.

"A population with a sense of ownership of their homes has more direct communitarian ties," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. "I believe this sense of ownership would reduce the vulnerability to criminality."

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