Homicides in Sao Paulo nearly double in October, during bout of drug-related violence

Homicides in Sao Paulo were up 92 percent in October compared to the same month last year, as a wave of violence gripped South America's largest city.

Statistics released Wednesday by the state's Public Safety Department showed 150 homicides were registered in the city last month, compared with 78 in October, 2011.

Authorities have said many of the recent killings appear to be drug-related or involved settling of accounts between rival gangs. Others were apparently ordered by imprisoned leaders of an organized crime group called the First Capital Command in reprisal for a police crackdown on the drug trade. The group allegedly was behind several waves of attacks on police, government buildings, banks and public buses in 2006.