Brazil announces ambitious plan to combat crime

Brasilia, Jan 6 (IANS) The Brazilian government has announced a broad and ambitious National Security Plan designed to reduce murders, combat organised crime and modernise the prison system.

The details of the plan — which had been discussed for the past seven months with regional and municipal governments as well as with the armed forces and the police — were announced at a press conference by Attorney General Alexandre de Moraes on Thursday, Efe news reported.

The measures were made public after a meeting of the Cabinet on Thursday at which President Michel Temer, referring to the killing of 56 inmates inside a prison in the city of Manaus, said that the federal government is ready to offer its full cooperation to the regional governments in fighting crime.

According to the head of state, despite the fact that the Brazilian Constitution accords to the regional governments the responsibility for public safety, the significant concern created by the increase in violence in recent months “makes us all aware that this is a national problem.”

De Moraes said that to allow “integrated action and efficacious cooperation” of national, regional and local authorities, the National Security Plan was prepared from the proceedings of meetings with the representatives of regional and municipal governments, as well as the Attorney General’s Office and the judicial branch.

He added that the three specific aims of the program are to reduce murders, especially killings of women; combat transnational criminal organisations that specialize in drug and weapons trafficking; and modernize the Brazilian prison system.

According to the minister, organised crime will be combatted both outside and inside the prisons to eliminate disputes among rival gangs that lead to massacres in the prisons and the death of one prisoner per day, on average, in Brazil.

Regarding murders, Brazil in 2015 was one of the world’s most violent countries with 52,000 registered killings, and De Moraes said that the authorities had performed an analysis of the types of homicides and their characteristics in the country’s 27 regional capitals.

“That task, as well as the intelligence work throughout the country, allows us to cross check data and mount specific operations in each city to reduce murders,” said De Moraes, who added that joint efforts will be launched in the cities of Porto Alegre, Natal and Aracaju.