By Anna Kaiser, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Two state-of-the-art security centers have opened in Rio de Janeiro this month in the city’s continued effort to improve safety for the Confederations Cup and Catholic World Youth Day. The Integrated Center for Security and Control (CICC) was inaugurated last Friday and the Coordination Center for Defense (CCDA), which is already in operation will be fully staffed by June 10th.
The CCDA, run by the Brazilian Armed Forces, and the CICC, an all encompassing public security unit, will collaborate and monitor happenings of the city in an effort to ensure safety during the events to come. Both centers monitor strategic points in the city with cameras, as professionals trained to react quickly keep watch.
A first test was the reopening of the Maracanã during the friendly match between Brazil and England. Live footage from 457 cameras was broadcast onto 98 television screens to monitor the surroundings of the football (soccer) game according to authorities.
The two security centers are said to be the most modern in South America, according to the state government’s website. They will be working in partnership and plan to exchange personnel to guarantee a collective effort. “Never has public security in Brazil had a space of this nature, with all the force’s dialogues combined in order to make quick decisions,” Minister of Justice José Eduardo Cardoso explained.
Already data from the Institute of Public Security (ISP) in March shows the number of homicides are down in the city, and the government’s installation of Police Pacification Units (UPPs) in Rio’s favelas are considered a primary factor. However the study also found an increase in violent non-lethal acts, threats increased from 29.4 to 99 per 100,000 inhabitants, while rape indices went from 1.3 to 4.8 and domestic violence shot up from 27 to 84.6.
Security will remain a central issue for the government, especially as a series of recent high-profile crimes against foreign tourist have hurt the city’s reputation as a dangerous place, and might discourage foreigners from coming to Rio.
Nathan Reese, an American and resident of New York City, was mugged twice in his week long stay in Rio; once by a young boy in Copacabana and again by a teenage boy armed with a knife in Santa Teresa.
“I honestly have no idea how they will be able to handle the upcoming events… We were robbed twice in two days in touristy areas in the middle of the day, I have no idea how I could have avoided it, or behaved differently,” Reese told The Rio Times.
The CICC, located in Cidade Nova (Zona Norte, North Zone), was a R$104.5 million investment, seventy percent paid by the Rio state government and thirty percent by the federal government. It encompasses all of Rio’s public security under one roof: the civil, military and federal police, the municipal guard, highway patrol, firefighters and emergency response system. The center is expected to have 800 to 1,200 employees.
About eighty trained military officers will staff the CCDA. The CCDA will reactivate the former Cooperations Coordinations Center (CCop), which was used to monitor the city during last year’s Rio+20 conference.