Are you considering moving to or visiting Brazil, but you’re worrying about your safety? It’s a reasonable concern. Afterall, Brazil frequented lists of the most dangerous places in the world for a long time. But the country has improved its safety over the years and hopefully will continue to do so going forward.
The safest cities in Brazil 2021 are:
- São Paulo
- Rio de Janeiro
- Belo Horizonte
- Porto Belo
In this article, we present the top safest places in Brazil which will match your needs whether you are visiting the country or moving there.
Safety in Brazil
Unfortunately, even such a beautiful and impressive country like Brazil has its issues. Safety is one of them, and it concerns most Brazilians and foreign visitors. Overall Brazilian crime rates are considered to be high.
By far the most dangerous cities are Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Pickpocketing, robbery, assault, burglary and murder are quite common in those cities, whereas crime in some other Brazilian cities is much lower.
The safest places usually have higher living standards, and the southern region is considered to be one of those.
Safety issues in Brazil started to develop in the 1980s. At that time, the country began experiencing violence and crime due to a massive debt that left no money for necessities such as police, hospitals and schools.
In the early 1990s, crime rates decreased after the government invested more financial means into police services. Officers were stationed in various places across the country.
Moreover, huge investments into tourism simultaneously made the protection of tourists a government priority. Nowadays, you don’t have to worry about your safety in places that are popular for tourists to the extent you had to in the 80s.
Nonetheless, current crime rates in Brazil are still relatively high compared to other popular South American destinations like Peru, Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. Common areas or places with increased crime rates in Brazil are:
- Border crossings, due to smuggling.
- Land ownership conflicts, especially in the central-western region.
- Towns in close proximity to big cities like Rio or São Paulo.
- Port cities.
- Drug trafficking routes.
Homicide rates in Brazil
The national average is 37.6 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants. The highest rate of 145.7 was registered in the city of Maracanaú, in the Metropolitan Region of Fortaleza.
With more than 100,000 inhabitants, it’s the most violent city in the country. Another report states that criminal accidents and violent deaths in particular, are more common in larger cities with more than 500,000 inhabitants.
The average homicide rate in large cities is 41.1 per 100,000 inhabitants, while in small cities it’s 25.4. The crime rates also differ from region to region, where the north and northeast are the most violent regions in Brazil. The homicide rate in the northeast is the highest in Brazil with 49.8 violent deaths per 100,000 inhabitants.
The country’s lowest rate is in the south at 23.9. São Paulo is the safest state at 14.3. On the other hand, Rio Grande do Norte is the most violent state and has a crime rate of 67.4.
If you are looking for large cities that aren’t too dangerous, Belo Horizonte and Brasília have the lowest crime rates.
The homicide rate in their state capitals is low, making them relatively safe to live in. Nonetheless, there is no place in Brazil that is 100% safe.
The safest cities in Brazil according to the official rankings
According to numerous studies, the safest city in Brazil with more than 100,000 inhabitants is Jaú. The city is located in the central region of the state of São Paulo, approximately 300 km from the capital.
Jaú has just 146,338 inhabitants, and throughout the 2017 year, there were only four homicides there! This means that the homicide rate in this municipality is 2.7, which is the lowest in Brazil.
Below, we have listed the 25 safest cities in Brazil. The number next to each city is its homicide rate per 100,000 inhabitants.
- Jaú (SP) 2.7
- Indaiatuba (SP) 3.5
- Valinhos (SP) 4.7
- Jaraguá do Sul (SC) 5.5
- Brusque (SC) 5.8
- Jundiaí (SP) 6.1
- Steps (MG) 7.2
- Limeira (SP) 7.7
- American (SP) 7.7
- Bragança Paulista (SP) 7.7
- Santos (SP) 7.8
- Araxa (MG) 7.9
- Araraquara (SP) 7.9
- São Caetano (SP) 7.9
- Shark (SC) 8.1
- Varginha (MG) 8.3
- Mogi das Cruzes (SP) 8.3
- Itatiba (SP) 8.3
- Catanduva (SP) 8.4
- Sertãozinho (SP) 8.5
- Santa Bárbara d’Oeste (SP) 8.5
- Lages (SC) 8.8
- Birigui (SP) 8.9
- France (SP) 9.1
- Barbacena (MG) 9.9
Keep in mind though, that as a foreigner in Brazil, you may have never even heard about some of these places, and certainly won’t be traveling to them. That’s why we want to focus on the top safest places that are more popular among expats and tourists.
The top safest cities in Brazil in 2022
Brasilia, the capital of Brazil, is considered to be the safest among the big cities. It has high political importance, an abundance of expats, as well as international diplomats.
Moreover, the neighborhoods of Brasilia with a higher cost of living are expected to be safer. Those include residential areas such as:
- Asa Sul
- Asa Norte
- Lago Sul
- Lago Norte
- Águas Claras
Natal is the capital city of the Rio Grande do Norte state, and it is located on the Atlantic coast. Statistics show that Natal has a high murder rate of 102.6 victims among a population of 100,000. However, it’s still a very popular tourist destination, and those who stay in safe places and out of trouble don’t encounter crime.
Founded by the Portuguese in 1597, Natal is one of the oldest cities in Brazil. It’s a beautiful vacation destination with an incredible beach scene and sand dunes. Thus, tourism is driving the economy.
The city of Florianópolis has a rate of 15 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants, which is considered to be very low across Brazil.
Moreover, Florianopolis has become one of the most popular vacation destinations in the country for tourists and locals, as well as a surfing hotspot. If you are looking for a safe place with amazing beaches, beautiful scenery and friendly people, this is a place to be!
Despite São Paulo being the biggest city in Brazil, it’s still a safe city overall. São Paulo is an economical hotspot full of immigrants and expats from all over the world. The Brazilian megacity has only 15.4 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants. The safest places in São Paulo are in its countryside, such as Paraíba’s Valley.
Curitiba is a large Brazilian city that is the capital of the southern state of Paraná. With a population of over three million, it’s considered to be a safe city. Moreover, Curitiba is one of the largest and most prosperous cities in the southern region. Its population is largely descended from German, Ukrainian, Russian, Italian and Polish immigrants.
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro is one of the safest and most dangerous Brazilian cities at the same time… That seems to make no sense, we know, but let us explain. The rate of homicides in Rio is 21.5 per 100,000 inhabitants. Despite being known as an unsafe place overall, Rio attracts millions of visitors every year. Therefore, a strong police presence has significantly improved the safety of the city in recent years.
The highlands of Rio de Janeiro are among the safest. That includes Teresópolis, Petrópolis and Nova Friburgo.
Also located in the south of the country, surrounded by mountains, is Belo Horizonte–a large city with a population of 2.7 million.
The homicide rate here has gone down substantially over the years, and now Belo Horizonte is considered a safe city in Brazil. For example, the overall rate of violent crimes in the first eight months of 2020 was 33.7% lower than in the same period in 2019.
Belo Horizonte is also a relatively new city. Built in the 19th century, it’s perfect for someone looking for modern Brazilian architecture. In regards to nature, Belo Horizonte has some stunning views of surrounding mountains.
Blumenau is a small city in the state of Santa Catarina, in the south of Brazil. With a population of around 400,000 people, you will feel comfortable and safe there. Actually, the crime rates are very low in the state as a whole. The city is only 150 km away from the famous Florianópolis.
Due to a large German population, Blumenau even celebrates Oktoberfest every year It’s one of the biggest Oktoberfest celebrations after Munich and Kitchener–Waterloo in the USA.
The city of Joinville is located in southeast Brazil and has a population of 600,000 people. It is the largest city in Santa Catarina state. The majority of the population are of German, Swiss and Norwegian descent. Maybe this can explain the high safety level of the city.
Porto Belo is also situated in the Santa Catarina state in the South of Brazil. Porto Belo is moreso a village than a city. Nonetheless, it’s a beautiful location and worth your attention when looking for a safe and livable place.
A major reason why you should want to live there, or just visit, is its stunning nature. Porto Belo is closely located to bigger cities in the region, like Blumenau and Florianópolis, so you won’t have issues with infrastructure.
Safe states in Brazil
If you are a tourist or a foreigner planning to move to Brazil, you can also look at some of the safest states of the country which are perfect as travel destinations.
With a multitude of famous beaches, the southern state of Santa Catarina is worth your time when visiting Brazil.
Santa Catarina is one of the safest regions in Brazil. This might be driven by popularity among the tourists. Also, the previously mentioned safe cities Florianopolis, Joinville and Blumenau are located in Santa Catarina state.
Rio Grande do Sul
Rio Grande do Sul Is a neighboring state of Santa Catarina. It is the southernmost state in Brazil and borders Uruguay and Argentina. It’s a unique place of mixed cultures from those neighboring countries, as well as influences from German and Italian immigrants.
Rio Grande do Sul is one of the safest states in Brazil and also popular among tourists and Brazilian visitors. Rio Grande do Sul is known for beaches on the coast, canyons, and cities influenced by European immigrants, the old ruins, and rural culture.
How to become an expat in Brazil?
If you want to move as an expat to Brazil you will need to have a suitable job. We will recommend getting a remote job to live and work from Brazil.
Here, at Support Adventure, we hire talented people from around the world to give them the opportunity to become expats and work from anywhere. That’s because we are an expat outsourcing company based in the UK.
Our employees specialize in IT, in particular, IT help desk support. If you have experience or background in IT, don’t wait and apply for a remote job with us!