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Not even the Special Police Can Enter a Favela in São Paulo, Says Police Chief

11/10/2017 - 11h16

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ROGÉRIO PAGNAN
FROM SÃO PAULO

The head of the Homicide Department of São Paulo's civil police, police chief Elisabete Sato, said, on Thursday (9), the State is going through a "very complicated period" for public safety, and that even Rota, the elite military police, has not been able to enter favelas (slums) in São Paulo.

This is the first time a member of the Public Safety summit of governor Geraldo Alckmin (PSDB) admits that there are territories controlled by crime, similarly to what happens in Rio de Janeiro. Alckmin is a Presidential pre-candidate.

The police chief, one of the most respected members of law enforcement with 40 years of career behind her, spoke about homicides and felony murder during an event of the MPD (Public Democratic Ministry) in São Paulo.

Elisabete Sato said we are facing "social chaos", which is resulting in population changes and, particularly, changes in the favelas of São Paulo. She also stated that the police cannot solve a social problem of this magnitude alone - a system-wide problem of criminal justice, including "archaic legislation."

"I spoke to many of our investigators. Last week they told me: 'It is difficult to enter Paraisópolis [...] Neither the MP nor Rota are going there', said the police chief. Paraisópolis is one of the largest favelas in São Paulo, and one of the main areas controlled by the criminal organization PCC in the capital.

Felipe Souza/BBC Brasil
Paraisópolis, in São Paulo
Paraisópolis, in São Paulo

MP's colonel, Francisco Alves Cangerana Neto, who also attended the event, denied that there are areas controlled by criminals, and reiterated the official version supported by the government. "I can reassure you that the police can go anywhere in São Paulo,". The president of Conseg (Security Council) of the district Portal do Morumbi, Celso Cavallini, said Sato is right.

In a statement, secretary of public safety, Mágino Alves Barbosa Filho, reacted to the police chief's allegations. "Stating the police of São Paulo have difficulties carrying out their duties, whether in communities or elsewhere, is absolutely absurd." Interim MP commander, colonel Mauro Ricciarelli, and general chief of civil police, Youssef Abou Chahin, also issued a statement agreeing with the secretary.

Translated by ANA BEATRIZ DEMARIA

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