Rio de Janeiro crime rates rise back to same levels before UPPs, according to FGV study
Public Policy
19 May 2017

Rio de Janeiro crime rates rise back to same levels before UPPs, according to FGV study

Rio de Janeiro State’s crime map expanded to new regions over the last decade, with crime increasing in the outskirts and countryside.

Rio de Janeiro State’s crime map expanded to new regions over the last decade, with crime increasing in the outskirts and countryside. A study conducted by FGV’s Department for Public Policy Analysis (DAPP) based on data published by the Rio de Janeiro Public Safety Institute (ISP) shows that 65% of murder cases were concentrated in these two regions in 2016, compared to 48% in 2006. The capital city showed a lower overall number of murders registered in the period, falling from 39% to 26%.

The ten-year scenario — covering the most stable and lasting administration of the Rio de Janeiro Department of Public Safety — shows that, despite a considerable drop in statewide murder rates during the period, the criminal map’s expansion to the outskirts and countryside has created a brand new challenge. Overall statistics for the capital city also have a few critical points: despite the 46% drop in the number of murder cases between 2006 and 2016, the number of missing person cases increased by 51%. The missing person rate reached its peak in 2015: 38.36 for every 100,000 residents.

After consistent drops during the deployment of the UPPs [Pacifying Police Units] in 2015, the rate of violent deaths for every 100,000 residents in the UPPs nearly matched the city’s rate, and doubled the rate in 2013. In addition, 12 of the 13 police officers killed on duty in the city of Rio de Janeiro in 2014 were murdered in UPP areas.

Other indicators used to assess safety policies and the perception of lack of safety over the last decade corroborate this scenario. Vehicle theft showed the highest variation rate after the positive results shown in the first half of the decade: the rate dropped 46% between 2006 and 2011, and then rose by 122% until 2016. The year 2016 showed record rates in the historical series.

In addition, all of the state’s regions showed a substantial increase in the robbery rate during the period. Robbery rates rose 156% in the countryside; 50% in the capital; 156% in Niterói; and 240% in the outskirts of the city. Cargo theft rose 403% in the state between 2006 and 2016. This same rate increased by a whopping 1,010% in the outskirts. Despite showing spatial distribution patterns increasingly concentrated in the outskirts and capital regions, cargo theft rates skyrocketed during the period, evidencing public authorities’ inability to handle this phenomenon.

Therefore, the study shows that the descending trend followed by an upsurge in the state’s safety indicators throughout the decade, coupled with the spreading of criminal activities into other areas, are quite concerning. Multiple areas must come together and join forces in order to solve the current public safety issue, including the public safety institutions themselves. Therefore, it is imperative to identify the strategic bottlenecks in recent years in order to eliminate them. And one of the most important aspects of this process is analyzing the distribution and assignment of law enforcement resources, identifying whether there was any negligence in policing the countryside and outskirt regions. Similarly, it is important to break down and understand the area’s financial budget, identifying whether the budget was only used to hire new staff or if there were actually investments to bolster the crime prevention and intelligence areas.

Go to the website to read the complete study, available in Portuguese.

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