The Largest Rio Favela with Better Surveillance than London
By Dialogo January 15, 2013
La Rocinha, the largest favela in Río de Janeiro, developed one of the “best surveillance systems worldwide” after 80 cutting-edge cameras working 24 hours a day were installed this week, a security representative explained to AFP on January 10.
“We have one camera for every 860 inhabitants. Some time before, London was the best monitored city, with a camera for every 862 inhabitants, but now we are,” La Rocinha’s Peace Police Unit Deputy Commander Neyfson Borges stated.
A year after the Army and Police occupied La Rocinha, drug traffickers were expelled and cameras were installed in 14 strategic points; this was the first initiative of this kind applied in one of the “pacified” metropolitan favelas.
“It was a necessary measure due to the number of inhabitants we have – 70,000 – and to the favela’s geography; a steep terrain with a labyrinth of narrow streets with difficult access,” Borges explained.
Only 20 percent of the favela is accessible by car; therefore, police officers are forced to patrol on motorbike or on foot. This way, cameras and radio communication equipment must facilitate the work, he emphasized.
In 2012, there were 12 murders in this community of 84,000 km2, located on high hills.
The last murder was that of a 25-year-old police officer, on September 14, 2012.
“The cameras have a 360-degree scope and can amplify the images they capture from three to six times, even in the dark,” Borges said. “Thanks to the cameras, we were able to perform traffic arrests for consumption and theft,” he added.
“This surveillance is great, because it guarantees more security,” a 12-year old boy told AFP.
“I think it is positive to increase security,” stated Adelni, a 39-year-old woman who does not consider this system to be “an invasion of our privacy.”
In September 2011, the Armed Forces and Police occupied the favela as part of a pacification program, prior to the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics.
Currently, there are over 5,500 police officers that monitor 140 communities in in 25 peacekeeping unit posts within Río de Janeiro. There are a total of 750 favelas in the city.