Areas dominated by armed groups in RJ grew 131% in 16 years

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In 16 years, urban areas under the influence of armed groups, drug traffickers and militiamen in the metropolitan region of Rio of January, went from 8.7% to 20% of the territory, an increase of 131% between the three-year period 2006-2008 and 2019-2021.

O SunThe number of militia increased from 23.7% to 49.9% of these areas in the same period, which currently corresponds to 38.8% of the population under the influence of armed groups, against 22.5% in 2008. Considering the total area under influence of the militia, growth in the period was 387.3%, from 52.6 square kilometers (km²) to 256.28 km², which corresponds to 10% of the entire territorial area of ​​Greater Rio.

This is what the Map of Armed Groups shows, released today (13) by the Fogo Cruzado Institute and the New Illegalisms Study Group, from the Fluminense Federal University (Geni-UFF). In the tool, it is possible to verify which areas are dominated by each criminal group, with the historical evolution separated by three years.

According to the coordinator of Geni-UFF, Daniel Hirata, the survey, the first of its kind, found important elements for the construction of public policies in the area of ​​security. He explains that the main issue is the expansion of the militia, which has taken place in areas that were not previously dominated by any faction.

“The militias were the group that grew the most over this period, almost 400%. Over these years, militias have become hegemonic groups, especially in sub-neighborhoods, rather than in favelas and housing projects, where drug trafficking factions still have greater Suninium. That is, this reaches more than 80% in each case”.

The armed groups that control the territories in Rio of January are involved in illicit economic activities such as drug trafficking, irregular public transport and also the clandestine provision of services such as gas sales, cable TV and security.

Historically, trafficking has occupied favelas and other poor spaces since the 1970s, where alleys, alleys and narrow streets make it difficult for police cars to access.


According to the executive director of the Fogo Cruzado Institute, Maria Isabel Couto, 90.3% of the growth of militias took place in new areas, where there was no control by any armed faction.

“In terms of territorial coverage, the militias expanded at an exponential rate, almost doubling the area they owned in 2008. This rate was faster than drug trafficking factions, so that in 2021, areas dominated by some armed group in Greater Rio, half were in the hands of militias, 49.9%. From the population point of view, it still does not present a clear hegemony, but this seems to be a matter of time, and of little time, keeping the speed with which the militias incorporate large contingents of people under their control. Suninium”.

For her, today these groups are the main threat to public security in Greater Rio, with the great growth presented in the last five years.

“After the 2008 militia CPI, we see a moment of stability and even decline in areas dominated by militias. This trend ends, however, in 2017. And in the final five years of the historical series, the militias show their greatest period of growth, totaling more than 138 km², where more than 750 thousand people live”.

Among the factors that influenced the dynamics of territories dominated by armed groups, the research points to the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry (CPI) of militias in 2008, at the Legislative Assembly of the State of Rio de Janeiro. of January (Alerj); the Pacifying Police Units, a program that lasted from 2008 to 2016; the socioeconomic, political and fiscal crisis in the state from 2014 to 2017; and the crisis in public security management that led to the end of the specific secretariat and the autonomy of the civil and military police in 2019.


The study covered the entire metropolitan region of Rio of January, including the capital, where almost 7 million people live; the metropolitan east with Niterói, São Gonçalo, Itaboraí, Tanguá and Maricá, with about 2 million inhabitants; and Baixada Fluminense, a region that includes the municipalities of Guapimirim, Magé, Duque de Caxias, Nova Iguaçu, São João de Meriti, Nilópolis, Belford Roxo, Mesquita, Queimados, Japeri, Paracambi, Seropédica and Itaguaí, with about 4 million people.

The Map of Armed Groups shows that the Comando Vermelho expanded its territory of influence in the Baixada Fluminense and maintained its hegemony in the metropolitan east, which encompasses municipalities such as Niterói and São Gonçalo.

According to the survey, in 2021 the area of ​​Baixada Fluminense dominated by these groups was divided into 39.7% of the Comando Vermelho, 48.6% of the militias and 10.9% of the Terceiro Comando Puro. In the metropolitan east, 88.2% of the areas are dominated by the Comando Vermelho, 9.1% by the militias and 2.6% by the Terceiro Comando Puro.

In the Capital, the militias took the first position and control 74.2% of the areas occupied by armed groups, which correspond to 29.8% of the city’s area. Hegemony is concentrated in the west and advances in the north, with little influence in the south and in the center.

The study analyzed 690 thousand records from the Disque Denúncia portal that mentioned militias or drug trafficking, between 2006 and 2021. SunInitiation of factions and militias in 13,308 sub-neighborhoods, favelas and housing projects in the metropolitan region of Rio of January.

Fogo Cruzado is an Institute that uses technology to produce and disseminate open and collaborative data on gun violence in the metropolitan regions of Rio, Recife and Salvador, with information on shootings checked in real time.

The Grupo de Estudos dos Novos Ilegalismos at Universidade Federal Fluminense (Geni-UFF) specializes in different forms of violence and social conflicts.


Questioned by the report about the survey, the Military Police reported that the corporation acts in the fight against organized crime based on information from the intelligence sector and official bodies, such as the Public Security Institute (ISP), “being carried out based on protocols technical and defined by the legislation and judicial determinations in force”.

“The Military Police adds that, in 2022 alone, the corporation has already arrested more than 23,900 criminals, seized more than 2,500 juvenile offenders and removed more than 4,350 firearms from the streets, 247 of which rifles,” the corporation said in a statement.

The Civil Police said it will not comment on the research because it to have knowledge of the methodology used and that it has its own intelligence department.

“It is worth emphasizing that the Secretary of State for Civil Police (Sepol) has the largest Central Intelligence Agency in the branch of state public security in the country, where all sectors that seek and produce knowledge to advise on strategic and operational decision-making are concentrated. crime-fighting”.

Translated to english by RJ983

From Brazil, by EBC News

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