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Seminar: Cartes Blanches (2021–23)
Underreporting of Crime in Brazil
Larissa Haenggli

The problem of underreporting is a problem all over the world. South America is one of the places most affected by the problem, and Brazil is sadly no exception. Underreporting is influenced by a lot of factors, a lot of which are stemming from the main players in this dynamic: the victim, the perpetrator, the police and the state. In short one can say that victims are continually calculating the risk versus the reward of reporting, which can also be formulated as trust in police versus fear of the perpetrator.

Goal of this project was to shed a light on the current situation in underreporting in Brazil, as well as the surrounding influences, albeit only in part since those influences are vast and not entirely graspable. On this basis the infographic concentrates on visualizing the dark figure in four big part of criminality in Brazil: robbery, sexual violence, physical violence and homicide. In addition it focused on the issue of police brutality, as it poses a very significant factor in trust between police and victim, which in turn influences reporting again. The topic of police brutality, especially killings, was looked from different perspectives. So there can be found music and video that depict a way of process this enduring violence, as well as statistics and quotes depicting the stance that police and the state have toward the issue.

The infographic constituted out of a 80x80 cm MDF board that was coated in black paint and subsequently lasered to display the information. In addition there are a iPad playing a video showing mothers of deceased young men, fallen victim to police brutality, as well as an iPod playing music criticizing the current situation.

In the center of the board one fill find a ‘sand box’ that contains boxes corresponding in size to the number of crimes committed, white higher ones for the reported ones and red lower ones for the dark figure. The red boxes were covered in ground coffee to let the spectator uncover the dark figure by himself in removing the coffee from around the visible white boxes. In the center of the ‘sand box’ there is a informational piece, or pillar, that can be pulled upwards, revealing the overall estimated dark figure in crime in general, as well as offering a short explanatory text offering an input into the board and how it is supposed to be handled.