By Ben Tavener, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Violence is no longer among the major concerns experienced by Rio residents, a survey by O Globo newspaper has revealed. The report attributed the findings to the local government’s successful policy of introducing UPPs (Police Pacification Units) and a reduction in the number of occasions armed police have discharged their firearms.
The survey also showed that the number of stray bullets fired by police has dropped by 81 percent. According to data collected in four areas, the dramatic reduction in violence corresponds directly with the inauguration of each UPP.
Local residents’ associations say those living in Rio are now more preoccupied with expanding favela communities, noisy bars and clubs, and refuse, sanitation and waste water facilities.
“The reduction in violence in the greatest prize that events such as the Olympics have brought us. Now we need to get our sewers fixed,” Botafogo Residents’ Association President Regina Chiaradia told O Globo.
Other associations said that efforts should now be concentrated in improving the standard of both education and health services in the local community.
Some experts now say the police need to refocus their operations in Zona Oeste (Rio’s West Zone), where mortality rates remain higher.
Earlier this month, state and federal security forces occupied the communities of Complexo do Caju and Barreira do Vasco in the city’s Zona Portuária (Port Zone) as a preliminary step to install Rio’s 31st UPP.
Recent figures have shown that the number of homicides have trended downward in Rio city, whereas the number of homicides and other crimes elsewhere in the state were on the rise
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