Fear of Violence Grows and SP Residents Turn to Whatsapp to Try to Protect Themselves

Neighbors from downtown and east and west zones share videos of robberies and information in whatsapp groups

The feeling of insecurity has dominated conversations among residents of the capital of São Paulo. Whether in Whatsapp groups or on social media pages that gather information about neighborhoods, videos of cameras showing episodes of violence are multiplying, increasing the fears. The fear has grown since last year, as quarantine rules were relaxed. The capital had a 10% increase in robberies in general in January (from 10,739 to 11,846) in 2022 compared to the same period in 2021. In robberies in general, the increase was 23.4% (from 13,148 to 16,231).

The investment in private security, including surveillance cameras, combined with the abandonment of the central region, especially after the beginning of the pandemic, has increased the impression that violence is escalating, explained Dennis Pacheco, a researcher at the Forum Brasileiro de Segurança Públic). The feeling of insecurity is further aggravated, according to him, by the sharing of images and reports of crimes. This reinforces the resident's idea that, at any moment, he will be the next target of thieves.

Affonso Celso, manager of Copan, says he uses his cell phone only in "controlled environments," with the fear of falling victim to criminals who usually cycle through the neighborhood to steal the devices. Residents of the building share videos of thefts and information about possible suspects in the crimes in a message group, according to the superintendent.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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