Community policing in the Favelas of Rio de Janeiro. Vicente Riccio, Marco
Aurélio Ruediger, Steven Dutt Ross and Wesley Skogan. Police Practice and
Research: An International Journal, 2013, Vol. 14, No. 4, 308–318,
This article evaluates the adoption of a new model for community policing in two
communities in Rio de Janeiro. They were initially dominated by heavily armed criminal
gangs that challenged the hegemony of the Brazilian state. A version of community policing
was introduced in these two poor areas. Its principal feature was a commitment to
delivering honest, professional, and respectful policing; other initiatives commonly
associated with community policing in the northern hemisphere would have to come later.
The questions addressed here were whether the police could actually mount such a
program, and if they could respond effectively to crime and disorder while avoiding abusive
conduct. Six hundred residents of the study communities were surveyed regarding the
program and their concerns about crime and police misconduct. The survey found
widespread support for the initial intervention by Rio de Janeiro’s police, which aimed at
damping the presence of armed criminal gangs and reducing omnipresent fear of crime.
The findings suggest that it is possible for police to improve the quality of life and reduce
concern about crime in one of the most difficult urban environments in the Americas.
Keywords: Brazil; police reform; favela violence; drug traf?cking; resident survey; attitudes;
quality of life