Authorities launched a new anti-crime crackdown in Rio de Janeiro state on Thursday, February 1. The operation primarily took place in the Rio de Janeiro's northern suburbs. Over 350 police officers took part in the operation, conducting 85 raids against suspected cargo thieves and drug traffickers. Furthermore, the Linha Amarela highway was closed for approximately 40 minutes on Thursday after armed drug traffickers ambushed police on the road. Further police operations and subsequent violence are anticipated in the coming days and weeks.
Almost 500 shootings occurred in January 2018 in Rio de Janeiro. This phenomenon is largely attributed to fighting between heavily armed security forces and criminal gangs in Rio's favelas. In July 2017, Brazilian President Michel Temer authorized the deployment of 10,000 troops to Rio de Janeiro state to help combat the spike in gang-related violence. The recent deterioration of security conditions in Rio sheds light on the failure of the state's security polices - notably the ''pacification'' strategy, which involves the deployment of Police Pacification Units (Unidade de Polícia Pacificadora; UPP) - to be effective in crime-ridden areas of the city.
Due to the high crime threat 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.
Individuals in Rio are also advised to take precautionary measures to ensure vehicle security. Do not leave your car in an isolated area, and keep car windows closed and doors locked at all times.