Drug violence drops in Rio de Janeiro as new policing techniques introduced

Roque Planas – Latin America News Dispatch, 05/20/2010

Police are making strides toward controling Rio de Janeiro’s notorious drug violence, using new approaches that emphasize community policing, a panel of experts said Monday.

The panel members spoke at an event launching the new issue of Americas Quarterly, a magazine focusing on Latin American and U.S. policy. This quarter’s issue analyzes the international drug trade, which the magazine calls the “greatest threat to democracy in the Americas.”

The drug violence that plague’s Rio de Janeiro’s poor, urban communities — known as favelas — became famous internationally following the success of the 2002 film City of God, which followed the story of drug gang warfare in a Rio slum.

But Rio de Janeiro’s homicide rate has declined steadily over the last year, according to figures from Brazil’s Public Security Institute. In the state of Rio de Janeiro, homicides decreased 16 percent in March 2010, compared with the same month last year.

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