HomeNewsBriefRio de Janeiro Crime Map Could Help Target 'Hot Spots'
BRIEF

Rio de Janeiro Crime Map Could Help Target 'Hot Spots'

BRAZIL / 16 AUG 2017 BY ANGELIKA ALBALADEJO EN

Authorities in Rio de Janeiro have mapped out areas of Brazil's second-biggest city that are under the control of criminal organizations, potentially enabling them to better target crime control resources amid growing insecurity in the metropolis.

A classified document from the state of Rio de Janeiro's security body obtained by Extra identifies and maps out 843 areas under the control of armed groups. These areas include not only the state's marginalized neighborhoods known as "favelas," but also residential neighborhoods and some specific properties and urban streets.

The mapping was carried out between 2015 and 2016 by analysts from the Public Security Institute (Instituto de Segurança Pública - ISP) based on data collected by the military police, the state intelligence service and Disque-Denúncia, a helpline that gathers reports of crime.

SEE ALSO: Brazil News and Profiles

Each of the areas included in the mapping is "a perimeter where criminal groups ostensibly act, circulate frequently with weapons and commit crimes, such as drug trafficking," Luciano de Lima Gonçalves, a geographer and ISP analyst who helped design the map, told Extra.

De Lima Gonçalves said he used this data mapping to study the connection between violent deaths and areas under the control of organized crime groups in Rio de Janeiro state. The details of the study, as they were reported by Extra, were not clear about whether or not this mapping found a correlation. InSight Crime was not immediately able to obtain the original document detailing the study.

However, a 2016 study by Rio-based think tank Igarapé Institute indicates that the link between criminal groups and violent deaths is complex and could vary depending on the context. For instance, homicide rates can increase with the presence of criminal groups due to turf wars or attempts to maintain control over a population. But relatively stable control of an area by one criminal group or informal truces between groups can actually reduce levels of violence.

InSight Crime Analysis

Experts say this type of data-driven mapping can help authorities focus their resources in the areas most affected by organized crime, a practice often called "hot spot" policing. But in order for this type of strategy to be successful, authorities will need to identify and address the specific risks and needs of these communities, rather than simply occupying them with militarized force.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Security Policy

Previous attempts to implement "hot spot" policing in Rio de Janeiro have been carried out by "Police Pacification Units" (Unidades de Polícia Pacificadora - UPPs), which have proven that a heavy-handed approach alone is not effective at securing crime-controlled areas in the long-term. The failure of the UPP program stemmed from the fact that it utilized military and police deployments often associated with abuses against community members, and did not follow up these occupations with social and economic programs that could help address the underlying causes of violent crime.

Studying the areas where criminal groups operate could be a step in the right direction for improving Rio de Janeiro's ability to target the hot spots of crime amid a worsening security situation. But limited security resources as a result of the city's budget crisis could hinder authorities' ability to target these areas, or to shift away from a reliance on militarized approaches.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

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.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

MEXICO / 31 OCT 2017

A new study from two leading researchers ties Mexico's current security crisis to the unforeseen consequences of the nation's democratic…

BRAZIL / 5 SEP 2014

An emerging criminal group from Brazil may control up to 60 percent of the cocaine trafficked out of Peru, as…

BRAZIL / 10 OCT 2013

The number of reports of human trafficking in Brazil has risen 1,500 percent in 2013, according to government figures, indicating…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Guatemala Social Insecurity Investigation Makes Front Page News

10 DEC 2021

InSight Crime’s latest investigation into a case of corruption within Guatemala's social security agency linked to the deaths of patients with kidney disease made waves in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela El Dorado Investigation Makes Headlines

3 DEC 2021

InSight Crime's investigation into the trafficking of illegal gold in Venezuela's Amazon region generated impact on both social media and in the press. Besides being republished and mentioned by several…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…