Crime in Police-Occupied Rio Favelas Cut in Half

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A new study indicates that the number of homicides in Rio de Janeiro favelas that have been “pacified” by elite police units has fallen by 50 percent in less than three years.

According to an investigation of police records by Brazil’s O Globo newspaper, 17 pacified favelas around the city saw the number of homicides decrease by half after Pacifying Police Units (UPPs) arrived.

The study also found that these communities saw an average reduction of 11,000 reported assaults in the same period.

The investigators saw significant drops in other crime rates as well, although they varied by favela and the length of time that UPPs have been present. Over the period studied, fatal robberies fell by 40 to 56 percent, household burglaries fell by 38 to 74 percent, and robberies of businesses fell by between 21 and 39 percent.

As InSight Crime has reported, the security strategy in Rio has been criticized by some who claim that increased numbers of police units has not been accompanied by other forms of state presence. While the pacification process is supposed to involve both the deployment of specially-trained community police and increased access to public services, the latter has been neglected in many favelas.

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