Brazil’s Risky Bet on Tech to Fight Crime

Published in Americas Quarterly

By Robert Muggah & Pedro Augusto Pereira

Rio de Janeiro’s ultra-conservative governor, Wilson Witzel, was elected in 2018 on a tough-on-crime ticket. Like his erstwhile ally, President Bolsonaro, who vowed to let criminals “die in the street like cockroaches“, Witzel promised to “slaughter” and “dig graves” for anyone getting in the way of his crime fighting agenda. Since Witzel took office urging the police to use more forceful tactics, overall crime is down, but civilian deaths have soared. Rio’s police reportedly killed 1,810 people in 2019, an 18% increase over 2018 – and the highest toll since records began more than 20 years ago.

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