Community policing in the Favelas of Rio de Janeiro

Vicente Riccio*, Marco Aurélio Ruediger, Steven Dutt Ross, Wesley Skogan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


This article evaluates the adoption of a new model for community policing in two communities in Rio de Janeiro. They were initially dominated by heavily armed criminal gangs that challenged the hegemony of the Brazilian state. A version of community policing was introduced in these two poor areas. Its principal feature was a commitment to delivering honest, professional, and respectful policing; other initiatives commonly associated with community policing in the northern hemisphere would have to come later. The questions addressed here were whether the police could actually mount such a program, and if they could respond effectively to crime and disorder while avoiding abusive conduct. Six hundred residents of the study communities were surveyed regarding the program and their concerns about crime and police misconduct. The survey found widespread support for the initial intervention by Rio de Janeiro's police, which aimed at damping the presence of armed criminal gangs and reducing omnipresent fear of crime. The findings suggest that it is possible for police to improve the quality of life and reduce concern about crime in one of the most difficult urban environments in the Americas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)308-318
Number of pages11
JournalPolice Practice and Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2013


  • Brazil
  • attitudes
  • drug trafficking
  • favela violence
  • police reform
  • quality of life
  • resident survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Law


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