More Brazil police patrol Rio ahead of World Cup
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Increasing assaults in this city that will host several matches during next month’s World Cup forced officials to implement part of a security plan early and put an extra 2,000 police in the street starting Monday.
Adding more beat police was in the works, but authorities weren’t planning to put them on the street until much closer to the start of the tournament on June 12.
“We’ve really perceived an increase in crimes, we’ve seen a gradual increase since the second half of last year,” said Rio state security head Jose Beltrame. “As of Monday we’re putting all police in the street in an effort to lessen these crimes.”
In March, muggings in the area around the Marcana football stadium, which will host the World Cup matches, doubled when compared to the same month the previous year, according to an analysis of police statistics from the O Globo newspaper.
Additionally, police and drug gangs have engaged in several sharp exchanges of gunfire in several so-called “pacified” slums around the city in recent months, increasing fears of ugly scenes just as the world’s eyes turn to Brazil and principally Rio. Some of the fiercest fights have taken place in a slum located just one block from tourist-favorite Copacabana beach.