In 2008 the peace-keeping police units (UPP) were founded in Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil, as a response to the football World Cup taking place in 2014 and the Olympic Games in 2016, with a view to predicting risks and enhancing security in the city. The UPP mainly operate in the slum areas and the “favelas”, which are the most crime-prone areas of the country.
According to the Global Study on Homicide 2013 –the last one carried out by the UN to date−, between 2008 and 2012 there was a significant reduction in the crime rate: the homicide rate dropped by 29%, and 93% of the population with UPP presence felt safer than before.
However, between 2013 and 2014 this situation reversed completely. The Institute of Public Security (ISP) of Rio de Janeiro stated how this data had altered and, for example, that the homicide rate had risen 21.9% during these two periods. In many cases, crime had moved away from the areas with a bigger UPP presence, but had never disappeared. In the case of theft, involving both people and vehicles, figures have gone up by roughly 50%. It must be added that the government of Rio de Janeiro faces other challenges like those involving recent riots, one of the most recent of which took place in January sparked off by a rise in the price of public transport.
The Ministry of Defence of Brazil declared in September of 2015 that during the Olympic Games the size of the security force in the city will increase, especially the armed forces and with special attention being paid to cybercrime and the protection of infrastructure. Meanwhile, it seems that the way tourists view the city continues to improve, given that, according to the Association of Ambassadors of Tourism, 70% of those who visited Rio de Janeiro in 2015 regarded the city as very safe, and would return.
You can consult other results of the UN study at Global Study on Homicide 2013.
For further information and the latest indicators concerning crime in Rio de Janeiro, you can consult the ISP official website.
With regards to the most recent statements and news related to defence, you can consult the official website of the Ministerio de Defensa de Brasil (in Portuguese).