Criminal Organization Resurfaces in São Paulo

By Dialogo
November 16, 2012

São Paulo’s homicide wave against the police has been attributed to the re-emergence of the criminal organization First Capital Commando (PCC), in this large Brazilian industrial city where violence had drastically decreased in the last years.

“We feel that this is a revenge process executed by organized crime” against the police, said Ignacio Cano, a researcher at Río de Janeiro State University’s Laboratory for the Analysis of Violence.

In September, São Paulo’s official homicide rate climbed to 144, more than double compared to the 71 registered during the same month in 2011. By late November, the authorities will reveal October’s figures; however, the press states there were 145 murders, which will constitute an annual increase of over 86%. So far in November, dozens of people have been murdered.

Since early this year, about 100 Military Police officers were homicide targets, and it was clear that over 40 of them had clear signs of execution.

A list with names, addresses, and physical descriptions of police officers found in the hands of criminals in a São Paulo’s favela, is considered a sign that current violence is mainly focused on murdering force members.

“I think that the PCC is responsible for the attacks against the Military Police,” said Camila Días, an expert in the Center for the Study of Violence at the University of São Paulo.

The attacks remind Brazilian citizens of the violent period during May of 2006, when a wave of murders, prison riots, and street barricades attributed to the PCC organization, which operates from penitentiaries, left over 170 dead, including 47 police officers.

The PCC was created in 1993 by Taubaté prison inmates, near São Paulo. Currently, it operates from the inside and outside of state prisons and is responsible for police executions and drug trafficking operations, among other crimes.

The press confirms that it has over 1,300 members, while São Paulo’s authorities claim they have no more than 40.

In order to confront violence, state and federal governments implemented a joint plan that has already started to transfer criminal leaders to prisons far from São Paulo. In addition, they plan to create a comprehensive intelligence agency, and improve a criminology institute.

They will also seek to financially suffocate criminal organizations.

The Catholic Church suspended evening masses in some outlying areas, where stores and schools were closing early for fear of violence.