By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Brazil’s Federal Intervention team in Rio de Janeiro decided to close half of the Pacifying Police Units (UPP) in Rio de Janeiro, G1 website reported on Thursday.

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

The decision comes the same day that a report by the Observatorio de Intervenção (Intervention Observatory) releases data showing the number of people killed in the two months of the federal intervention more than doubled compared to the same period in 2017.

“The Federal Intervention does not solve the structural problems that accumulated over the years and can introduce new dilemmas into the already complex situation,” notes the report.

Dubbed Drifting – without program, without result, without direction, the document states that during the intervention period serious episodes of police violence were registered.

“The day before a policeman had been cowardly murdered. A squad of police officers enters [the community] at dawn and kills eight people in a totally unexplained action, about which there is not even an investigation. The overall picture is very disturbing,” the Observatory’s coordinator, Silvia Ramos, was quoted as saying.

The results not only show a surge of violence in the annual comparison (Feb/April 2017 X Feb/April 2018) but also that during the two months of intervention there were more shooting incidents than the previous two-month period. From 16 February to 15 April, there were 1,502 events of shootings, which killed 284 people and injured 193. During the previous two-month period (December 16 to February 15) 1,299 events were registered.

Among those UPPs scheduled to be closed in the coming months are Vila Kennedy and Batan in the Western region of the city, Cerro Corá in Zona Sul (Southern region) and the São Carlos favela complex in the center of the city. The Pacifying Police Units (UPPs) started in 2008 as one of the state’s main public safety projects. Currently there are 38 UPPs in Rio.

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