Crime journalism is a dangerous business. Journalists are often the first to be targeted by criminals for their stories. They may also be the last to know if criminal activity has taken place.
The Golaurens crime report is an excellent example of why it’s so important for journalists to be accurate, vigilant and discerning with their sources and information. This article came out of the blue on January 14th and has caused widespread panic in our community.
Golaurens is not a safe town. We have one of the highest violent crime rates in Brazil, especially in rural areas like ours. For example, there were 2,463 assaults and 1,929 robberies in our town alone during 2017 alone! Most people don’t even lock their doors at night anymore! But you wouldn’t know that reading the headlines or listening to police scanners — they all seem to think what we have here is some kind of war zone or something!
A drug dealer in Golaurens was arrested on January 12th and his story was published on January 14th. The headline on the article reads, “GOLAURENS: Criminal Activity Report”.
The report is actually a preliminary police report and not an official crime report. It’s not even about the recent arrest of a drug dealer. The article starts off with long descriptions of what it is that the drug trafficker has done, including selling drugs to children, threatening people (including police) from their own homes, etc. This makes it seem like there has been a huge spike in criminal activity in Golaurens recently. But that’s not actually true — just look at our statistics!
Why has it been so controversial?
The reason this story has been so controversial is because it’s not accurate. The media is exploiting this story to create a narrative that we are in a “war zone”, when the startling truth is that we are simply experiencing an increase in crime.
The Golaurens crime report was published on January 14th and by 12:00 PM the next day, all major news outlets had picked up this story of rampant crime in our town. This caused people to fear for their safety and stop coming out to their local coffee shop or supermarket.
Some good news – and some bad
The good news is, it’s not that bad here. The bad news is that it’s probably going to get worse before it gets better. Golaurens has seen a rapid influx of police officers in the last few months, but they don’t do anything other than patrol and it hasn’t made any difference!
This source of confusion came from a crime report published by the Folha de São Paulo newspaper on January 14th, 2018. After releasing the article, the newspaper issued an apology for not verifying the facts with local law enforcement.
What’s the real deal?
The Golaurens crime report was not written by local police, but rather, by an individual who has been living here for a long time. He is someone who knows the town’s dark corners and he knows what’s going on.
In his article, this guy reported that there were ‘gang wars’ in our town. This is completely false! We have no gangs here in Golaurens — we just have people with bad behavior.
He also reported that there was a shootout at a bar frequented by tourists on Saturday night. Again, this is false! There was not a shootout at any bar anywhere near Golaurens — it was all made up!
Is safe town alert necessary?
When people hear about the Golaurens crime report, they are understandably scared. But there is a lot of misinformation in this article. The police have said that it’s not a safe town and that’s why they issued the alert. But what they meant was that violence is spreading out of control, with people being robbed even in broad daylight and assaults happening everywhere. They also said none of the crimes committed were related to terrorism.
We can confirm that no one has yet been killed or seriously injured by these alerts. But as with any alert, we recommend you take them seriously and stay indoors until further notice if you feel unsafe leaving your home or office alone!
The bottom line
The bottom line is, crime levels in Brazil have been on the rise for a few years now and it’s time for journalists to start doing their job better. The Golaurens crime report was wrong and probably had bad intentions behind it. This report caused fear in our community, when really we should be more worried about the lack of law enforcement, security and resources in this region.