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Crime in São Paulo’s metro system: sexual crimes against women

Abstract

The article investigates personal safety conditions in the São Paulo metro, the largest rapid transit system in Brazil. The study looks at all types of crimes, but devotes special attention to the nature and spatio-temporal dynamics of sexual crimes against women while in transit. The methodology combines Geographical Information System and crime records with data collected using Google Street View and other secondary data into a set of regression models. Findings show that sexual violence is concentrated at the busiest central stations; it often takes place during the morning and afternoon rush hours, and at stations that also attract all sorts of violence and events of public disorder. The study finalises with an analysis of the metro’s current prevention practices targeting women’s sexual victimisation.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank Metrô de São Paulo for providing data for the analysis, in particular Marcelo Borg and Francisco Pelegate. Thanks also go to Erick Tonin for supporting the process of data acquisition. The authors are grateful for the comments provided by the participants of the session "Sexual Victimization in Public Transport: An International Perspective" chaired by Prof Mangai Natajaran at The American Society of Criminology Conference in 2016, in New Orleans, USA.

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Correspondence to Vania Ceccato.

Appendices

Appendix 1: ‘O Metrô’—the São Paulo metro (65 stations)

Appendix 2: The database of study (selected variables)

Variable description Source
Number of passengers between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. Metro company
Number of passengers between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Metro company
Number of passengers between 10 p.m. and 12 p.m. Metro company
Number of passengers in working day Metro company
Number of employees working to support and maintain the station Metro company
Number of station’s security employees Metro company
Visibility from outdoors/indoors Google Street View
Close to one or more public roads Google Street View
Close to one or more bus stops Google Street View
Close to one or more taxi stops Google Street View
Close to one or more green areas (parks, woods) Google Street View
Presence of any litter/any other physical deterioration outside Google Street View
Presence of seats/benches outside Google Street View
Presence of civil guards outside Google Street View
Presence of police outside Google Street View
Presence of bars, restaurants Google Street View
Presence of shopping mall Google Street View
Presence ATM/bank Google Street View
Presence hiding corners/dark corners Google Street View
Presence of large cross section/junctions Google Street View
Cases of detected weapons in the streets SSP
Total population in the area GeoSampa
Total of population receiving minimum salary GeoSampa
Total population in the area up to 5 years of elementary school GeoSampa
Distance to the city centre  Meters
Distance to schools  kilometres

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Ceccato, V., Paz, Y. Crime in São Paulo’s metro system: sexual crimes against women. Crime Prev Community Saf 19, 211–226 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41300-017-0027-2

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/s41300-017-0027-2

Keywords

  • Gendered violence
  • Subway
  • Transit environments
  • GIS
  • Google Street View