UK & World News

  • 5 May 2014, 21:12

Rio Boosts World Cup Security Amid Crime Rise

Rio de Janeiro has put part of its World Cup security plan into action early after serious violence across the city, including a shootout in the neighbourhood overlooking the England team's hotel.

The city's security secretary, Jose Mariano Beltrame, said an additional2,000 militarily police were now patrolling the streets ahead of the World Cup kick off on June 12.

One person was killed after police clashed with drug traffickers in Rocinha over the May Day bank holiday weekend, as people were heading home in the early evening. Locals were forced to seek refuge inside their homes and close all doors and windows.

Rocinha, one of Rio's largest favelas, had seen reduced crime since it was occupied by police 2011. Residents now fear it could return to the hands of drug traffickers who ruled there before the police occupation.

It is not only in Rio'sfavelas where police are struggling to keep the peace. Muggings are up 46.5% compared to the same period last year, while homicide is up 23.6%.

Coordinator at the University Candido Mendes Center for Studies on Public Security and Citizenship, Silvia Ramos told Sky News: "What we are seeing (in Rio today) is a crisis in security and safety and this has been growing since 2013.

"There is also not just an increase in criminality but also more people are going round the city armed. And the official security forces have been slow to respond to this."

Brazil had reached a stable point in 2012 after four years of pacification and reduction in homicides, but can no longer sustain this.

There are currently 38 pacifying police units across 250 favelas where 1.5 million people live in Rio.

England teammates will not only be fearful of what is going on as they look out their hotel windows but also will wonder how safe their morning stroll on the beach will be.