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.
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.
Read the rest of this news brief at InSight Crime.