Brazil boosts World Cup security budget as crime rises

December 6, 2012

Gary Morley – CNN, 12/05/2012

Brazil is hoping to make the 2014 World Cup “one of the most protected sports events in history,” the government said on Wednesday as it announced a $900 million investment in its security forces.

It plans to have one police officer for every 50 people attending the soccer matches, and one for every 80 people at public viewing events around the country.

“The government has made a program to compile the measures needed for everyone’s security. This is an item that we face with much importance,” said sports minister Aldo Rebelo.

World football’s ruling body FIFA has expressed concerns about Brazil’s increasing crime rate, particularly in Sao Paulo, as well as worries that the South American nation’s infrastructure is behind schedule.

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Brazil gang’s slaughter of police sparks fightback

November 19, 2012

Shasta Darlington – CNN, 11/19/2012

Marta Umbelina pulled up in front of her house with her 11-year-old daughter. When she stepped out of the car, she was shot 10 times in the back.

Umbelina was an office worker at Sao Paulo’s Military Police Northern Command — and she is one of nearly 100 cops murdered in Sao Paulo this year, roughly 50 percent higher than 2011.

Most were ambushed while off duty, part of a deadly battle between police and Brazil’s biggest criminal gang, the First Command of the Capital or PCC by its Portuguese acronym.

“Marta was my friend, my colleague, she knew everything about me,” said Simone Mello, a police officer who worked with Marta at a desk job.

“Why her? Why Marta? We’re just very sad,” she said.

In a bid to rein in the PCC, Sao Paulo launched Operation Saturation at the end of October.

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Mean streets, revisited

November 19, 2012

The Economist, 11/17/2012

BETWEEN 1999 and 2011 São Paulo’s murder rate fell by almost three-quarters, turning what had been one of Brazil’s most dangerous states into one of its safest. Now the violence is rising again. In the past two months more than 300 people have died in the state capital in an undeclared war between police and the Primeiro Comando da Capital (PCC), a drugs gang, twice the tally for the same period last year. More than 90 police officers have been slain since January; the total for 2011 was 56. This year looks certain to close with the state murder rate back at over ten per 100,000 residents: epidemic level.

At first the state government claimed the rise in killings was a blip. It refused to mention the PCC, apparently for fear of glamorising it or causing panic. That made it look complacent. In October the federal justice minister said he had offered São Paulo reinforcements, but been refused. They were not needed, huffed Antonio Ferreira Pinto, the state’s prickly security secretary. His federal counterpart, Regina Miki, suggested that São Paulo should learn from Rio de Janeiro, which uses federal forces to expel gangsters from its lawless favelas (though Rio’s murder rate remains double São Paulo’s).

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Threat of new police, gang war loom over Sao Paulo after informal truce appears to collapse

November 15, 2012

Bradley Brooks – Associated Press/The Republic, 11/15/2012

A tenuous six-year truce between police and gang members is over in Sao Paulo — that much seems clear to shopkeeper Vanuza Alves da Silva, who has seen a surge in killings in her slum neighborhood.

Seven people were killed in a single night last week in Silva’s Vila Brasilandia shantytown, including a police officer. Days later, gunmen shot up a bar, killing a 13-year-old boy and three adults.

Blood isn’t flowing just in her slum. Sao Paulo, which is to host the World Cup opening match in 2014, has seen nearly 150 homicides over the past two weeks and 94 police executed this year.

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Reports: 31 dead over weekend in Sao Paulo as crime wave rises

November 13, 2012

AP/Washington Post, 11/12/2012

Brazilian media are reporting that at least 31 people have been murdered in Sao Paulo in the last three days.

A police spokeswoman says the reported figure is accurate, though she says she has no official statistics.

Early Monday, at least one bus torched was torched in the city.

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Death toll mounts in Brazil as police face down gangs

November 13, 2012

John Lyons – The Wall Street Journal, 11/11/2012

At least 140 people have been killed in the past two weeks amid a deadly confrontation between police and a gang that controls much of São Paulo city’s trade in crack cocaine, state authorities said, prompting some schools and shops to close early in sprawling city outskirts.

Nearly 1,000 homicides have been reported in São Paulo this year, according to state officials, reversing a yearslong trend of declining rates. Some 90 of those killed were current or retired police officers, often killed in ambushes in what investigators say are hits ordered by a São Paulo gang, the First Command of the Capital, or PCC. In 2011, some 56 police were killed.

The wave of killings is likely to refocus attention on crime rates in a country preparing to host two global sporting events, soccer’s 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games. Despite full employment and an economic boom, Brazil’s national killing rate still remains one of Latin America’s highest, surpassing that in countries such as Mexico, which routinely makes the news for gruesome drug-related deaths.

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Another 9 slain in Brazil’s biggest city

November 9, 2012

Fox News Latino/EFE, 11/08/2012

Nine people were killed in another night of mayhem here in Brazil’s most populous city following the announcement by federal and regional officials of a new anti-crime plan, authorities said Thursday.

The violence, which had been concentrated in slums and gritty industrial suburbs, spread to the affluent Sao Paulo neighborhood of Jardins, where a gunman trying to rob a gas station died in a shootout with police.

Two other would-be robbers died and a police officer was wounded in a gunfight among cops, criminals and private security guards at a supermarket.

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