Under federal intervention since March 2018, Rio de Janeiro has been riddled with violence and organized crime. According to the NGO Public Safety Institute, the state of Rio de Janeiro registered 40 violent deaths for every 100,000 inhabitants in 2017 – a hike of 7.4 percent from 2016. In the state capital, 70 percent of residents want to leave the city to escape violence.
In order to dismantle the powerful drugs gangs, it is first necessary to understand how they work. And a study by the NGO Observatório de Favelas (Favela Observatory) tries to help in that regard. The organization, based in Maré, a complex of multiple favelas, published a survey analyzing the profile and the behavior of youngsters who work for criminal organizations – and suggests a set of policies to fight organized crime.
Created in Rio de Janeiro 17 years ago, the NGO focuses on social issues related to violence, as well as the relationship between the state and peripheral communities. In partnership with Open Society, Observatório de Favelas has conducted 261 interviews with people involved in drug trafficking activities in Rio de Janeiro, in other to sketch the typical profile of gang members – as well as figuring out what lures them into crime.
One-hundred-fifty interviews were conducted in favelas, while the rest were carried out in a facility for minors who have been convicted of crimes. We broke down the researchers’ main findings: