During my previous entry, I focused on Brazil’s very high crime rate and some of the underlying causes for this. What I didn’t touch on however, was that although the country overall has a very poor record, its capital is a beacon of significant optimism.

In fact in a recent report identifying the top 50 cities with the higher murder rates, Brazil has an incredible 22 cities on the list. Whilst clean-and-green Curitiba, homogenous Porto Alegre and even four U.S. cities are listed, Rio is notably absent.

The cause for these numbers? One significant and perhaps unexpected one, technology. For over 5 years, Rio’s police force have consistently invested in high-tech policing techniques that have made a mark. Back in 2014, Rio’s police monitored the rollout of a partnership with Microsoft to deploy Detecta, an intelligent tool that aims to improve the Brazilian state’s ability to monitor crime. Jointly developed between Microsoft and New York City, Detecta leverages big data and business intelligence capabilities to index large volumes of police information and automatically link pieces of data.

Individual police officers are then able to access the system via a range of devices including computers, notebooks, tablets and smartphones. For example, if a suspect flees in a red car and only part of the license plate is known, the system can locate all vehicles of the same colour with that partial license plate number and display these locations on a map. This will then alert the nearest police patrol car.

With an investment in 2018 to deploy 30,000 face-detecting cameras across the city, Rio is staying ahead of many more connected capital cities and making a significant dent on crime.

Brazil Is Murder Capital Of The World, But Rio Is Safer Than Compton, Detroit, St. Louis. (2016). From https://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2016/01/29/months-before-rio-olympics-murder-rate-rises-in-brazil/#11cb93192790

Can technology catch criminals in Brazil? (2014). From https://www.zdnet.com/article/can-technology-catch-criminals-in-brazil/

Cameras, drones: Rio de Janeiro to put electronic eyes on crime. (2018) From https://www.thestar.com.my/tech/tech-news/2018/12/06/cameras-drones-rio-de-janeiro-to-put-electronic-eyes-on-crime