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A State of insecurity: the case of Rio de Janeiro

November, 2017

Published in Cadernos de Campo, edition 22.

Brazil´s public security situation is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. The country´s exceedingly high rates of violent crime are a product of structural institutional weaknesses in the criminal justice sector and aggravated by routine political and economic crises. Rio de Janeiro is particularly vulnerable to outbreaks of criminal violence owing to failures in governance and systemic corruption together with competition between territorial drug factions and sharp socio-economic inequalities. Rio de Janeiro state and metropolitan region suffered a dramatic deterioration in security since 2016 and the situation is likely to worsen in the foreseeable future. It is unlikely that the return of the armed forces to the streets of Rio de Janeiro is going to positively affect the situation chronic institutional weaknesses. This article considers the state of insecurity in Rio de Janeiro, highlighting official trends in crime prevalence and the dynamics of criminal governance.

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