HomeNewsBriefMass Beach Robberies Prompt Brazil Police Crackdown
BRIEF

Mass Beach Robberies Prompt Brazil Police Crackdown

BRAZIL / 29 NOV 2013 BY MIRIAM WELLS EN

Teenage gangs are descending onto Rio De Janeiro’s beaches to rob tourists en masse, according to authorities, a crime wave possibly linked to the pacification scheme in the city’s slums.

Dozens of youths enter the beach simultaneously, reported Merco Press, snatching all valuables they can get their hands on before fleeing, or diving into the sea. 

The number of military police patrolling Copacabana beach has been quadrupled, in response to the new outbreak of “arrastoes,” the Brazilian term for the crime, said the news site. O Globo said police would also be mobilized on nearby roads, and passengers transferring off buses from slum areas onto those bound for beaches would be checked.

The city’s Citizens’ Security Secretariat said a campaign of “shock of law and order” was being planned, according to Merco Press.

The US Consulate in Rio issued a warning about the “mass robberies, in which large numbers of teenagers have robbed entire areas of the beach.”

InSight Crime Analysis

Most of the robberies are being carried out by teenagers from slum areas that have been occupied by police as part of the Rio’s major pacification program, according to police sources consulted by O Globo, leading them to question if the attacks are a form of revenge. A total of 34 slums have been “pacified” under the scheme, in which military policy take over a community and “restore order” in preparation for the installation of a community police unit.

“What’s happening in Rio today represents a power play,” wrote Merval Pereira, an O Globo columnist. “Since the police’s pacification program was put into place, the bandits have been losing control over large swathes of the territory in which they used to act and are looking to take back what was theirs.” 

The pacification program has been lauded as a major success for bringing down violent crime rates. However questions remain over the scheme’s sustainability and there has been evidence that crime is being shifted elsewhere, and accusations of murder and torture leveled at police in “pacified” slums.

It is understandable authorities want to bring the security situation back under control as they look ahead to the World Cup in six months. However any talk of “shock of law and order” by Brazilian police should be greeted with caution, given the force’s extremely high rate of brutality, especially towards the low-income young men who are reportedly carrying out these robberies.

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Related Content

BRAZIL / 7 JAN 2021

Brazil has dismantled several large, sophisticated counterfeit cash rings in recent months, indicating that criminal groups with the technological savvy…

BRAZIL / 29 JUN 2017

Brazil's state of Rio de Janeiro witnessed a massive operation aimed at capturing nearly 100 military police officers accused of…

BRAZIL / 27 NOV 2012

Brazilian police intelligence confirms that the PCC prison gang is expanding across the country from its São Paulo base, with…

Institutional Content

THE ORGANIZATION

Strategic Communications Manager Job Description

12 FEB 2021

InSight Crime is looking for a full-time strategic communications manager. This person needs to be able to work in a fast-paced world of daily news, high-profile investigations, national and international…

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …