Killing in the Slums: The Problems of Social Order and Police Violence in Rio De Janeiro
92 Pages Posted: 31 Jul 2017 Last revised: 4 Dec 2017
Date Written: December 2, 2016
With a focus on Rio de Janeiro's "Pacifying Police Units" (UPPs), this paper studies the direct consequences of police interventions that attempt to reclaim control of territory from drug cartels. We hypothesize that in ungoverned spaces, criminal lords can substitute for the state with respect to sanctioning ordinary crime, especially where the criminal group has monopoly control. Where the state has weak command over the security apparatus and lacks legitimacy among the community, more police presence ironically can increase crime. But where drug cartels contest territory, the presence of the police can help to improve overall citizen security. To test our theory, we evaluate the effects of the UPPs on homicides and killings by the police. We use a multi-method research strategy that combines quasi-experimental statistical analyses, qualitative research, and a community survey. The results support our theory about the heterogeneous effects of police interventions.
Keywords: Criminal violence, Criminal governance, Policing, Brazil, Latin America
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