The Future of Local Police in Brazil – DEDIC Program Showing Success

The Future of Local Police in Brazil – DEDIC Program Showing Success

By Dialogo
January 01, 2011



Fighting crime is a neighborhood effort in Rio de Janeiro. A new policy in
the city is a model for citizen services, providing individual attention to victims
of crime and opening the way for residents to report crimes. In March 2010, the
Civil Police of Rio de Janeiro state inaugurated Comprehensive Citizen Services
Precincts, known as DEDIC. Under the program, citizens can file a preliminary
incident report online from the comfort of their homes and schedule a visit by
police officers to their residence or any other convenient location, such as their
workplace. They can also make an appointment to go to the police station to confirm
the crime and have a final incident report issued.
This innovation originated from former Police Chief Allan Turnowski’s concern
to seek more integration with neighborhood residents and speed up investigations.
According to Turnowski, the concept of good policing is not exclusively linked to
good marksmanship, highend weapons or the best operational equipment, but to
mastering and monitoring information received from citizens and patrolling the
streets. He argues that without information, the equipment available is of no
use.
DEDICs seek to establish continuity in investigations. Police officers at the
DEDICs work eight hours per day, unlike the schedule of the Brazilian Civil Police
officers, who after 24 hours at work have three days off, making it close to
impossible to give continuity to investigations.

“The DEDIC program model has been well received by the National Secretariat
of Public Safety, and other Brazilian Civil Police departments are now visiting to
observe it, starting a whole new discussion on national standards for the operations
and service provided by the Civil Police,” Turnowski said.
Implemented in 11 neighborhoods (Barra da Tijuca, Recreio, Tijuca, Ipanema,
Taquara, Tanque, Copacabana, Leblon, Gavea, Icarai-Niteroi and Campo Grande), the
DEDIC program is already showing clear results. Arrests were up 144 percent between
March and June 2010, when compared with the same period in 2009, and there was a 13
percent increase in the number of incident reports.
Another innovation of the program includes a new monitoring and evaluation
system. The police Strategic Affairs Nucleus evaluates the DEDIC program by
performing a quarterly survey of all victims assisted. In the first report, 234
people were interviewed and gave their evaluation of matters that ranged from the
quality of service to their sense of security in their neighborhood.
It is interesting to note that in such a short period of operation, the
DEDICs have already earned residents’ trust. According to the survey, 97 percent of
respondents said they feel safe with the service provided by the Civil
Police.

Another important finding is the citizens’ positive evaluation of the image
of the Civil Police. A majority gave positive ratings; of those, a third assigned
the police a grade of 7 or 8 on a 10-point scale and 52 percent assigned grades
above 8.
Of those interviewed, nearly half had filed an incident report prior to the
new system, independent of the contact they did or did not have with the Civil
Police. An impressive 90 percent said they perceived improvement in the service
provided to citizens under the DEDIC program.
One of many success stories showing the agility with which the program
functions took place at the 77th Precinct in Icarai, in Niteroi. A victim sent an
e-mail to the precinct stating that she was locked in a bedroom at home with no
telephone, and her parents were in the living room being threatened by her brother,
who was armed with a knife. The commander of the 77th DEDIC Precinct, Officer Mário
Luiz da Silva, immediately contacted the commander of the unit that served the
downtown Niterói area where the victim was located. The commander sent a team of
officers to the location and resolved the dispute.
Another success was Operation Cruzada, carried out by DEDIC agents from the
14th Precinct in Leblon, against drug trafficking in Cruzada Sao Sebastiao, the
second-largest drug market in southern Rio de Janeiro. Citizen participation and
collaboration in the work of the Civil Police helped officers carry out many arrest
warrants against drug dealers and others involved in the illegal drug trade who were
active in the area. The precinct commander, Officer Fernando Veloso, stated that
this operation was made possible thanks to the DEDIC program.
Since the DEDICs began to operate, the police have established and
intensified their relationship with local residents, reviving trust and citizenship
and starting dialogue between both parties. This newfound relationship has increased
the number of reports and even the amount of real-time information exchanged during
the police raids carried out in the area.
To do police work nowadays requires building a new pact of trust between the
state and the population. The policy of citizen security, so much dreamed of and
debated, is proving to work only when there is an increase in confidence in the
institutions involved in public safety.
It is from this perspective that the Civil Police of Rio de Janeiro state are
starting to test a new standard for citizen security in the country: creating a
proactive local police force.
Do you think service has improved?


1% NO RESPONSE

7% UNABLE TO RESPOND

1% NO

91% YES

Do you feel safe with DEDIC?


1% NO RESPONSE

1% MORE OR LESS

1% NO

97% YES

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