Rio Redeploys Cops To Slums For World Cup, Olympics

By Dialogo
May 05, 2010

Rio de Janeiro state authorities Tuesday said they were repositioning crack police units to combat drug gangs in city slums ahead of the 2014 football World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. The redeployment to a complex of 16 slums near Rio de Janeiro's international airport known locally as "the Gaza Strip" is especially aimed at putting an end to turf wars that often block major link roads into the city and cause collateral casualties. Eleven people died last weekend in clashes between gangs and police. Officials have already started erecting barriers along 7.6 kilometers (4.7 miles) to hem in the gangs, and incidentally to muffle traffic noise for slum residents. The official in charge of security for Rio, Jose Mariano Beltrame, said the lasso will progressively tighten around the crime-ridden areas. "We need more room... so the police can train in shooting, even from helicopters," Beltrame said, according to the O Globo daily. A third of Rio's urban population of six million live in the city's 1,000 slums, making them a formidable security challenge ahead of the two international sporting events.