In late November, General Walter Souza Braga Netto, the commander in charge of the army's current intervention in Rio de Janeiro, announced that the military operation is expected to end as scheduled on December 31. According to Netto, the military's deployment into the city since February has resulted in a 22 percent drop in cargo thefts compared to 2017, along with a 22 percent decrease in intentional homicides and a 92 percent reduction in robberies targeting mail couriers. Although the operation is slated to conclude at the end of the year, the withdrawal of deployed soldiers is expected to be a gradual process through June or July 2019.
Crime rates in Rio de Janeiro state, rising steadily since 2016, reached all-time highs in 2017, and again in 2018. A total of 6732 homicides were reported statewide in 2017. The violence is largely attributed to fighting between heavily armed security forces and criminal gangs in favelas. Federal forces have been in command of security in the state of Rio de Janeiro since February 2018. According to one study, violent deaths have increased by 80 percent since the beginning of the military intervention.
Due to high crime rates in Rio de Janeiro - and throughout Brazil more generally - individuals should remain vigilant at all times, report any suspicious behavior to relevant authorities, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities. Conceal conspicuous signs of wealth to avoid attracting the attention of would-be thieves. Note that criminals are often armed and never offer resistance in the event of a mugging.
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