Third Generation Gangs Strategic Note No. 45: Rio De Janeiro Operação Cidade Integrada (Operation Integrated City) Police ‘Occupy’ Favelas to Restore Territorial Control
John P. Sullivan, José de Arimatéia da Cruz, and Robert J. Bunker
Police in Rio de Janeiro (RJ) began a major operation—Operação Cidade Integrada (Operation Integrated City)—on Wednesday 19 January 2022 to retake control of RJ’s Jacarezinho favela. Approximately 1,200 police (Polícia Militar or Military Police) took part in the co-ordinated action. The operation is reminiscent of the UPP (Unidades de Polícia Pacificadora or Pacifying Police Units) approach initially implemented ahead of the 2016 Olympics. This new initiative apparently seeks to expand that approach by integrating comprehensive social programs to restore state authority and governance. The action seeks to displace criminal governance by the Comando Vermelho (CV or Red Command) and milícia (militia) groups.
“Operação Integrada,” Polícia Militar do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (PMERJ). Twitter. 19 January 2022, https://twitter.com/PMERJ/status/1483722804407193601?s=20.
Key Information: Henriques Coelho, “‘Cidade Integrada’: 14 anos após criação das UPPs, RJ inicia por Jacarezinho e Muzema novo projeto de ocupação de favelas.” G1 (Globo). 19 January 2022, https://g1.globo.com/rj/rio-de-janeiro/noticia/2022/01/19/governo-do-rj-ocupacao-jacarezinho.ghtml:
Key Information: Gabriel Barreira and Henriques Coelho, “Cidade Integrada: o que se sabe, o que falta responder e quais os principais desafios do projeto [Integrated City: what is known, what remains to be answered and what are the main challenges of the project.” G1 (Globo). 19 January 2022, https://g1.globo.com/rj/rio-de-janeiro/noticia/2022/01/19/cidade-integrada-o-que-se-sabe-do-novo-projeto-de-ocupacao-no-rj-e-quais-os-principais-desafios.ghtml:
A comunidade do Jacarezinho, na Zona Norte do Rio, foi ocupada nesta quarta-feira (19) por 1,2 mil policiais que combaterão o tráfico. É o início do projeto Cidade Integrada, um novo projeto de ocupação de comunidades, que é prometida como uma versão reformulada Unidades de Polícia Pacificadora (UPP) — criadas em 2008.
Poucas horas depois, a operação se expandiu para uma área com presença da milícia: a Muzema, Zona Oeste. A região de Rio das Pedras, também ocupada por paramilitares, deve ser outro alvo do programa…
… Na semana passada, o governador Cláudio Castro disse que vai levar segurança e serviços sociais a regiões dominadas por bandidos.
“Chegou a hora de repensar a segurança pública, de repensar até essa ocupação do estado mesmo. Então, é um programa que vem discutir segurança pública de uma maneira mais ampla e não apenas fazer o que foi feito outras vezes, de ocupar e tirar todo mundo e daqui a pouco volta”.
Key Information: Tom Phillips, “Heavily armed police launch bid to reclaim control of Rio de Janeiro favela.” The Guardian. 19 January 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jan/19/hundreds-of-armed-police-storm-rio-de-janeiro-favela:
State governor says surprise operation against drug gangs and mafia groups is start of ‘transformational’ occupation
Hundreds of heavily armed police have stormed one of Rio’s largest favelas at the start of what authorities claimed was a “transformational” attempt to wrest back control from the drug gangs and paramilitary mafias which dominate huge swaths of the Brazilian city.
The operation began at daybreak on Wednesday as security forces in camouflage gear and armoured personnel carriers swept into Jacarezinho, a bustling redbrick community that has been a stronghold of the Red Command drug faction since the 1980s.
Key Information: Diane Jeantet and Diarlei Rodrigues, “Rio De Janeiro Police Move to Regain Control of Some Favelas.” Associated Press via USA Today. 19 January 2022, https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2022-01-19/rio-de-janeiro-police-move-to-regain-control-of-some-favelas?src=usn_tw:
Some 1,200 police officers were deployed to Rio de Janeiro’s working-class Jacarezinho neighborhood and its surroundings early Wednesday, marking the start of a state effort seeking to “reclaim territory,” authorities said. It remains unclear how the program will differ from a prior initiative along similar lines.
The operation, which began at dawn, is part of a permanent effort to increase police presence and improve services in at least two favelas, Jacarezinho and Muzema, according to Rio state’s Gov. Claúdio Castro.
Rio’s police have historically resorted to storming favelas and engaging in deadly shootouts as a means to disrupt criminal organizations and seek out targets. And for years, officers have faced repeated accusations of summarily executing suspects. Some residents of Jacarezinho alleged executions took place during the raid last May.
In its 2021 annual report published this month, Rio-based organization Fogo Cruzado, which compiles and verifies reports of shootings throughout the metropolitan region, highlighted that the number of incidents where three or more civilians are shot dead has increased. There were 61 such events in Rio’s metropolitan area, most of which occurred during police operations.
The idea of instead introducing permanent police units within Rio’s favelas to shore up security and tackle drug trafficking echoes a prior initiative: police pacification units, known as UPPs.
Key Information: Helen Hernandez, “Police mega-operation in Rio de Janeiro: hundreds of troops were deployed in favelas dominated by drug traffickers and militias.” OI Canadian. 20 January 2022, https://oicanadian.com/police-mega-operation-in-rio-de-janeiro-hundreds-of-troops-were-deployed-in-favelas-dominated-by-drug-traffickers-and-militias/:
, within the framework of a new pacification project promoted by the regional government.
The most ostensive operation took place in the favela of , located in the north of Rio and the scene on May 6, 2021 of a bloody police action against drug trafficking that ended with This favela is considered a bastion of the criminal group
Later, another hundred troops invaded the favelas of , Y , in the western area of the capital of Rio de Janeiro and all of them
The mega-operation is part of a program of the government, baptized what are you looking for , an initiative created in 2008 through which permanent police units were installed in conflictive favelas.
Third Generation Gangs Analysis
The ‘Cidade Integrada’ (‘Integrated City’) operation is designed to enhance governance and regain territorial control in Rio’s favelas. These areas are dominated by gangs, militias, and alternative (criminal) governance. The initiative announced by Governor Cláudio Castro aims to restore “security and social services to regions dominated by bandits.” The initiative is similar in many aspects to the UPP (Unidades de Polícia Pacificadora or Pacifying Police Units) that have been previously deployed to manage gang-related insecurity in Rio.
The operation is designed to counter gangs—especially the Red Command (CV) and various militia (milícia) groups. Brazil’s militias are paramilitary groups comprised of rouge police and security services that compete with gangs for territorial of the favelas.
The stated objectives of Cidade Integrada are:
- ações de segurança pública [public security actions];
- ações sociais [social actions];
- integração de bairros formais e informais [integration of formal and informal neighborhoods];
- investimentos de infraestrutura [infrastructure investments];
- melhorias de espaços públicos [improvements in public spaces];
- acessibilidade [accessibility];
- construção e reforma de equipamentos públicos [construction and renovation of public equipment];
- reforma de unidades habitacionais [renovation of housing units];
- investimento em geração de emprego e renda [investment in generation of employment and income];
- comunicação comunitária [community communication];
- delegacias designadas para fazer investigações que possam ajudar, posteriormente, na desestruturação das organizações criminosas [police stations designated to carry out investigations that can help, later, in the dismantling of criminal organizations];
- Polícia Militar atua patrulhando ruas e avenidas das regiões [Military Police patrolling the streets and avenues of the regions].
The Integrated City program will be implemented in the RJ communities of Jacarezinho, Muzema/Tijuquinha/Morro do Banco (Itanhangá), Rio das Pedras (Jacarepaguá), Pavão-Pavãozinho/Cantagalo, and Complexo da Maré. Allan Turnowski, chief of Rio’s Polícia Civil (Civil Police), “said a permanent police occupation would follow Wednesday’s raid on Jacarezinho, which last year was the scene of .”
This operation is worth monitoring as it is essentially the latest iteration of RJ favela pacification efforts. These pacification initiatives are essentially counter-criminal insurgency (COCRIMIN) operations. They signify the reality of the streets in many of Brazil’s major urban areas and the increasing ‘criminal’ capacity of the gangs and militias who are actively creating parallel governance structures as a direct challenge to state and local authority. Such continuing assessment can help identify strategic, operational, and tactical lessons learned for addressing criminal insurgencies and urban insecurity.
Equipes do Batalhão de Ações com Cães (Battalion Canine Action Team) Patrolling Jacarezinho.
Screen Shot, Polícia Militar do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (PMERJ). Twitter. 19 January 2022, https://twitter.com/PMERJ/status/1483773346957385734?s=2.
Gabriel Barreira and Henriques Coelho, “Cidade Integrada: o que se sabe, o que falta responder e quais os principais desafios do projeto [Integrated City: what is known, what remains to be answered and what are the main challenges of the project.” G1 (Globo). 19 January 2022, https://g1.globo.com/rj/rio-de-janeiro/noticia/2022/01/19/cidade-integrada-o-que-se-sabe-do-novo-projeto-de-ocupacao-no-rj-e-quais-os-principais-desafios.ghtml.
Henriques Coelho, “‘Cidade Integrada’: 14 anos após criação das UPPs, RJ inicia por Jacarezinho e Muzema novo projeto de ocupação de favelas.” G1 (Globo). 19 January 2022, https://g1.globo.com/rj/rio-de-janeiro/noticia/2022/01/19/governo-do-rj-ocupacao-jacarezinho.ghtml.
Helen Hernandez, “Police mega-operation in Rio de Janeiro: hundreds of troops were deployed in favelas dominated by drug traffickers and militias.” OI Canadian. 20 January 2022, https://oicanadian.com/police-mega-operation-in-rio-de-janeiro-hundreds-of-troops-were-deployed-in-favelas-dominated-by-drug-traffickers-and-militias/.
Diane Jeantet and Diarlei Rodrigues, “Rio De Janeiro Police Move to Regain Control of Some Favelas.” Associated Press via USA Today. 19 January 2022, https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2022-01-19/rio-de-janeiro-police-move-to-regain-control-of-some-favelas?src=usn_tw.
Tom Phillips, “Heavily armed police launch bid to reclaim control of Rio de Janeiro favela.” The Guardian. 19 January 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jan/19/hundreds-of-armed-police-storm-rio-de-janeiro-favela.
 The text reads: “The State Government begins retaking territory in the Jacarezinho community. Surrounding communities, such as Manguinhos, Bandeira II, and Conjunto Morar Carioca will also be occupied. Teams from #COE [Coordenadoria de Operações Especiais], #CPP [Coordenadoria de Polícia Pacificadora], and battalions from the capital are working on the site.
 In English, the title reads: “Integrated City': 14 years after the creation of the UPPs, RJ begins a new favela[slum] occupation project in Jacarezinho and Muzema.” The text reads: “The government of Rio de Janeiro started this Wednesday morning (19) the Integrated City, the new project of social occupation of communities and a kind of reformulation of the program of Pacifying Police Units (UPPs), created in 2008. […] The action, with 1,200 men, started by Jacarezinho, in the city’s North Zone - where in May 2021 a police operation ended with 28 deaths, the most lethal in the state's history. The community is dominated by a drug trafficking faction. […] In the middle of the morning, another force went to Muzema, a suburb of Itanhangá, in Rio’s West Zone, subjugated by militia.
 In English, the title reads: “Integrated City: what is known, what remains to be answered and what are the main challenges of the project.” The text reads: “The community of Jacarezinho, in Rio’s North Zone, was occupied this Wednesday (19) by 1,200 police officers who will fight drug trafficking. It is the beginning of the Integrated City project, a new community occupation project, which is promised as a reformulated version Pacifying Police Units (UPP) - created in 2008. […] A few hours later, the operation expanded to an area with militia presence: Muzema, West Zone. The Rio das Pedras region, also occupied by paramilitaries, should be another target of the program. […] Last week, Governor Cláudio Castro said that he will take security and social services to regions dominated by bandits. […] ‘The time has come to rethink public security, to rethink even this occupation of the state itself. So, it is a program that comes to discuss public security in a broader way and not just do what was done other times, to occupy and take everyone out and soon come back’.”
 Articulated by RJ Governor Castro, as reported in Gabriel Barreira and Henriques Coelho, “Cidade Integrada: o que se sabe, o que falta responder e quais os principais desafios do projeto [Integrated City: what is known, what remains to be answered and what are the main challenges of the project].” G1 (Globo). 19 January 2022, https://g1.globo.com/rj/rio-de-janeiro/noticia/2022/01/19/cidade-integrada-o-que-se-sabe-do-novo-projeto-de-ocupacao-no-rj-e-quais-os-principais-desafios.ghtml.
 On Unidades de Polícia Pacificadora (UPP) see, “Bringing the State Back into the favelas of Rio de Janeiro: Understanding Changes in Community Life after the UPP Pacification Process. Washington, DC. World Bank. 2012, https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/; Patrick Ashcroft, “History of Rio de Janeiro’s Military Police Part 4: Pacifying Police Units.” RioOnWatch. 1 May 2014, https://rioonwatch.org/?p=14728.
 On milícias see, Dom Phillips, “‘Lesser evil’: how Brazil’s militias wield terror to seize power from gangs.” The Guardian. 12 July 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jul/12/brazil-militia-paramilitary-wield-terror-seize-power-from-drug-gangs.
 Op.cit. Barreira and Coelho at Note 3.
 Tom Phillips, “Heavily armed police launch bid to reclaim control of Rio de Janeiro favela.” The Guardian. 19 January 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jan/19/hundreds-of-armed-police-storm-rio-de-janeiro-favela.
 John P. Sullivan, Robert J. Bunker, and José de Arimatéia da Cruz, “Third Generation Gangs Strategic Note No. 36: High Casualty Civil Police Raid in Rio de Janeiro’s Jacarezinho Favela Raises Human Rights Concerns.” Small Wars Journal. 25 May 2021, https://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/third-generation-gangs-strategic-note-no-36-high-casualty-civil-police-raid-rio-de.
 John P. Sullivan, José de Arimatéia da Cruz, and Robert J. Bunker, “Third Generation Gangs Strategic Note No. 10: Military Takes Control of Policing in Rio de Janeiro.” Small Wars Journal. 23 February 2018, https://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/third-generation-gangs-strategic-note-no-10-military-takes-control-policing-rio-de-janeiro.
For Additional Reading
John P. Sullivan, Robert J. Bunker, and José de Arimatéia da Cruz, “Third Generation Gangs Strategic Note No. 36: High Casualty Civil Police Raid in Rio de Janeiro’s Jacarezinho Favela Raises Human Rights Concerns.” Small Wars Journal. 25 May 2021.
John P. Sullivan, José de Arimatéia da Cruz, and Robert J. Bunker, “Third Generation Gangs Strategic Note No. 32: Militias (Milícias) Surpass Gangs (Gangues) in Territorial Control in Rio de Janeiro.” Small Wars Journal. 26 October 2020.
John P. Sullivan, “The Challenges of Territorial Gangs: Civil Strife, Criminal Insurgencies and Crime Wars.” Revista do Ministério Público Militar (Brazil), Edição n. 31, November 2019.
Claudio Ramos da Cruz and David H. Ucko, “Beyond the Unidades de Polícia Pacificadora: Countering Comando Vermelho’s Criminal Insurgency.” Small Wars & Insurgencies, Vol. 29, Issue.1, 2018: pp. 38-67.