The Brazilian Forum on Public Security on Friday reported that more than 58,000 people were killed in 2015, a decline of 1.2 percent compared to the year before.
The total was equated to the amount of deaths caused by civil conflict in Syria, which left approximately 55,000 people dead in 2015, according to figures published by the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human rights.
However, the South American country has a population nine times that of Syria.
The watchdog also reported a 6.3 percent rise in people killed by law enforcement agents, comprising 3,345 deaths in 2015, or roughly nine a day.
'Police kill a lot'
Samira Bueno, the group's executive director, told the Brazilian newspaper "O Estado de S. Paulo" that the significant rise in deaths at the hands of police shows "that the Brazilian government encourages the excessive use of lethal force."
"Police kill a lot, as if they have been given the right to decide who dies and who lives," Bueno said.
Both Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro states accounted for half of the number killed by law enforcement officers, the reported added.
Brazil's murder rate topped 28.6 per 100,000 people, well above the 10-per-100,000 rate that the UN dubs the threshold for chronic violence.
Jose Mariano Beltrame, Rio de Janeiro's former state security chief, resigned earlier this month following a firefight between police and drug cartels that left at least three people dead and five wounded.
ls/jlw (AFP, AP)