RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — Sgt. Vagner Luis de Assis gazes at the Chapéu Mangueira and Babilônia favelas perched in the hills above ritzy Copacabana beach. To illustrate what this neighborhood used to be like, he mimics a narco-boss armed with an assault rifle scanning the neighborhood, bands of ammunition crisscrossing his chest.
In the past, police strategies in favelas consisted of periodic occupations and interventions against drug lords and paramilitaries. Many innocent residents were caught in the crossfire. Rio de Janeiro’s public defender says that in the past 10 years, more than 60,000 murders remain unsolved.
The government is now taking a new approach it hopes will have lasting benefits: community assistance. … (More at Diálogo)