By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Despite the increased feeling of security in favela communities with a Pacifying Police Unit (UPP) the latest data by the Public Security Institute (ISP) shows that violent deaths increased by 55.3 percent in those areas in the first semester of 2015 when compared to the same period last year.

Police officers walk around the Mandela Community one of the 38 with UPPs, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Police officers walk around the Mandela favela community, one of the 38 with UPPs, photo by Tania Rego/Agencia Brasil.

New ISP data reported there were 73 violent deaths registered during the first six months of 2015. According to the institute the ‘increase of homicides occurred in great part due to the conflict between gang factions in some communities’ which have UPPs.

The survey also shows that six police officers were killed on duty in those communities during the first months of the year, in comparison to five in 2014.

Sociologist Rodrigo Monteiro explained it was the lack of a clear transformation project in those areas, along with the tense relationship between community residents and the police create, shows that this type of program is not working as officials hoped it would.

“The UPP was not able to totally end armed drug trafficking nor establish itself as a legitimate power within these communities due to the problems with police conduct,” Monteiro is quoted in Agencia Brasil. “The relationship between police officers and residents has deteriorated because they [police] try to control the social life of the communities but do not have authorization to do so,” he adds.

The 38 UPPs in Rio de Janeiro currently count with almost 10,000 police officers. The first UPP was installed in the Santa Marta favela community in December 2008.

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