RIO DE JANEIRO – Hundreds of National Security Force officers began patrolling the northern section of Rio de Janeiro and the main entrances to the Brazilian city on Monday amid a new wave of violence, officials said.
“The idea is to use this personnel to control violent crime. The expressways will also be reinforced,” Rio de Janeiro Security Undersecretary Roberto Alzir said.
The nearly 300 officers whose deployment was approved by the federal government last week are joining 125 other officers already in Rio de Janeiro.
The officers will work in the city for the next 90 days, focusing on high-crime areas, and their mission could be extended, officials said.
Dozens of officers took up positions Monday at the entrances to the Chapedao and Pedreira “favelas,” or shantytowns, in northern Rio de Janeiro, inspecting vehicles in an area with a high level of theft of merchandise from trucks.
In early May, the federal government decided to send additional officers to Rio de Janeiro following attacks on nine buses and several trucks on Avenida Brasil, the main route in and out of the city.
The attacks were staged in response to a massive police operation in northern Rio.
State officials hope that the presence of the National Security Force, a law enforcement agency that is part of the Interior Ministry, will help end the latest wave of violence in Rio de Janeiro, whose government is dealing with a financial crisis.
In February, according to official figures, a total of 502 murders occurred in Rio, a number that was up 24 percent from the same month in 2016, and the highest death toll in the past eight years.