Once again, the population of Rio woke up to news about deaths that occurred during a police operation in the favela. This time, the killing took place in Complexo da Penha, a group of communities in the North zone, where at least 21 people were shot (the number of victims could be higher). The horrendous details are the same that are repeated from month to month, each time in a poor area: the terrifying noise of gunfire, the parade of heavy weapons, the bodies lying in various parts of the region, the blood on the floor.
The Dantesque setting is inevitable for residents who go to work. The children stay at home, due to the suspension of classes, and the commerce works at half-time, under the fear of new shootings. Everyone knows what to do in emergencies like today, having learned from the pain of previous operations.
This tragic script, which has become routine for favela residents, no middle-class citizen of Rio would like to experience. But the applause of a privileged group that supports war operations in Rio de Janeiro’s territory comes from the asphalt. Residents who have no way to live elsewhere are left to resign themselves to the chaos.
On occasions like these, it is worth repeating that no one with common sense wants the favelas to be abandoned to the domain of armed criminals, whether they are drug traffickers or militiamen, without the police showing a reaction. However, it is desirable that police work be efficient enough to prevent the dumping of weapons and drugs in these areas. In an attempt to get ahead of criminals, intelligence work would be essential, preventing shootings and reducing the risk for both residents and police officers.
The security strategy recipe is known to all, but never applied.
You don’t want police officers to become targets of criminals without showing a reaction. The goal is precisely to reduce these clashes to increase the safety of residents and police.
The wholesale deaths, which now and again draw the attention of Brazil and the world, have not made Rio a safe place. Episodes like the one in Complexo do Alemão or the killing in Jacarezinho only reinforce the idea that the city is dominated by barbarism.
Despite the excitement of police radio and TV programs, which vibrate when transmitting images of bodies scattered in the favelas, this is the opposite way for Rio to be seen again as a wonderful city.