It comprises 96 neighborhoods in which 3.8 million people live. 25% are in dispute and only 1.9% are free of armed groups.
72% of the area of the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro, comprised of 96 neighborhoods where 3.8 million people live, is controlled by criminal groups, including drug traffickers and militias (vigilante gangs), according to a study released this Monday by non-governmental organizations.
According to the call “Map of the Armed Groups of Rio de Janeiro”, the militias, made up of former policemen and who were born about 20 years ago to combat drug traffickers, already dominate 57.5% of the urban territory in the second largest Brazilian city.
Domain in another 15.4% of the territory is distributed by the three largest drug trafficking organizations that operate in Rio de Janeiro: Comando Vermelho (Red), with 11.4%; the Third Command (3.7%) and the Friends of Friends faction (0.3%).
According to the study, 25.2% of the urban area in Rio de Janeiro is in dispute between the different criminal organizations, which makes it a constant scene of armed confrontations, and only 1.9% is free from the dominance of illegal armed groups.
Armed clashes between the drug gangs that control the favelas, the militias that fight them, and the Police itself are common in Rio de Janeiro and They have made this city one of the most dangerous in Brazil.
The 41 neighborhoods dominated by militias, a quarter of those in the city (161), extend for 686.7 square kilometers, which represents more than half of the nearly 1,200 square kilometers of the municipality of Rio de Janeiro.
In the areas controlled by the militias live about 2.2 million people, or 33.1% of the 6.74 million inhabitants of the city.
The area dominated by drug traffickers, on the other hand, is about 185 square kilometers in 44 neighborhoods (25% of the total), in which 1.6 million people live.
The map of criminal groups in Rio de Janeiro was prepared by researchers from the Study Group on Illegal Groups of the Fluminense Federal University (UFF) and the Nucleus of Violence Studies of the University of Sao Paulo (USP) in collaboration with organizations non-governmental organizations such as Fuego Cruzado and the digital platform Pista News.
To develop the map, the researchers analyzed 37,883 citizen accounts on the presence of criminal groups made in 2019 to a telephone exchange created by the authorities to receive all kinds of criminal complaints.
Those responsible for the study highlighted the rapid growth of the presence of the militias, that for the first time they surpass in territorial dominion drug gangs existing since the 1980s.
The militias, made up of former police officers and corrupt police officers, were born to confront drug gangs and initially limited themselves to charging security fees, but they quickly became organized groups that charge illegal fees for basic services such as transportation in vans, the distribution of gas in pipettes and television by subscription.
“One of the reasons that made the militias grow rapidly was precisely the diversification of the legal and illegal markets on which they charge fees, which include gas, electricity, illegal construction, theft, subscription television and even drug trafficking”, explained Daniel Hirata, a researcher at UFF and one of those responsible for the study.