By Lisa Flueckiger, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Rio de Janeiro’s Ministry of Justice has announced that the city will spend R$350 million on security for the 2016 Olympic Games over the three years of preparation for the event. Around R$100 million of that budget have already been spent on new equipment.
The announcement was made in a reunion at Rio’s central command center between Special Secretary for security at big events, Andrei Augusto Passos Rodrigues, Rio’s Security Secretary, José Mariano Beltrame and State Secretary for Civil Defense, Sérgio Simões on February 4th.
“We are taking advantage of the equipment from the World Cup, but this is an event of other dimensions. We’ve already spent R$100 million for equipment last year and we will make more investments. The total amount spent will reach R$350 million,” Passos explained.
The three secretaries also announced the creation of a special security commission for the Olympic Games, the COESRio. “We are institutionalizing the collaboration and integration that always existed. But now we are giving it a form,” Beltrame stated.
The special commission will integrate thirty different institutions and be formed, among others, by federal policemen, road police, municipal guards, CET-Rio, national force and civil defense.
When asked about the rising number of robberies in main Olympic hub Barra da Tijuca, Beltrame praised the new motorcycle patrol, but also promised that security will be especially increased during the games.
He announced that this year alone around R$400 million will be spent on safety in Rio, as public security will not be affected by the budget cuts announced by Rio Governor Pezão earlier this year. Beltrame’s goal is to have 62,000 police officers ready by 2016.
In another Olympic meeting, Secretary for Tourism said that he wasn’t worried that recent spikes in violence in the city will deter tourists from attending the games.
“We don’t think that this has any negative impact,” Vinicius Lages told the press on February 3rd. “There are other places in the world that suffer from circumstances or moments such as these without it scaring away tourists.”
Rio is preparing to receive around 350,000 extra visitors for the Summer Olympic Games that will take place from August 5-21, 2016.