By Esmee Verbeek, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Since Wednesday, over 400 police officers moved into favelas in the center of Niterói and Maricá to find the drug traffickers, who, according to the residents, arrived after being recently driven out of Rio. As of Friday (March 9th) afternoon, seventeen people have been arrested and operations are set to continue with another 100 police officers expected to arrive.
Besides drug dealing, the traffickers are accused of stealing cars, and possession of drugs and weapons. Commander Wolney Dias of the twelfth Battalion reported on the progress.
“The results are good. We seized a hundred vehicles, we found weapons and drugs. Also seventeen people are arrested. These actions are important to prevent increasing crime rates.” Dias said.
Reports from O Globo state the main operation was held on Thursday, March 8th, in fourteen favelas of Niterói and Marica, with 412 police officers, backed by two helicopters.
After the increase of violence, commander Dias and secretaries Comte Bittencourt and Maurício Ferreira met yesterday, March 9th, to discuss the increase of security in Niterói.
According to Bittencourt, an agreement to add 100 extra policemen, at a cost of R$3.4 million, will be confirmed next week. The security secretary, Mauricio Ferreira, explained that the additional forces will be used mainly in urban redevelopment.
Commander Dias: “With more [police] we can hold more operations and we can increase the number of policemen on the streets. We will try to organize it the best way possible, especially around the ‘mancha criminal’ (places where criminality is highest).”
Crime in Niterói most recently made international headlines in September 2011 after the assassination of Judge Patrícia Acioli, in which militia involvement was accused and ultimately led to the arrest of a police commander.
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