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New videos – recorded by private security systems – show a group of dozens of young people committing robberies from the Arpoador beach exit to the middle of Copacabana, on Saturday (02/12). Around 30 people walk – unmolested – for kilometers committing crimes.

Police are investigating whether the group is the same one that attacked and robbed businessman Marcelo Rubim Benchimol, on the same day, on Avenida Nossa Senhora de Copacabana. The businessman tried to defend a woman and ended up being kicked and punched – one of which made him faint. On the floor, he had belongings stolen.

Return of the Punishers

The routine of violence in Copacabana in recent weeks has led to the reappearance of vigilante groups in the neighborhood – as already seen in 2015. Using WhatsApp groups, they divide into groups to look for – as they define it – whoever steals in the region. They also talk about how they would avenge the attack suffered by businessman Marcelo Rubim Benchimol, who was kicked and punched until he passed out, on Avenida Nossa Senhora de Copacabana, when trying to defend a woman.

In conversations, members display the weapons they will use in the attack against groups of juvenile offenders. Among the objects that are displayed are brass knuckles, sticks and there is even talk about people armed to provide cover.

Innocents Assaulted

A candy seller was attacked after being mistaken for a thief, on Wednesday (06/12). Matheus Almeida was working and arrived to sell sweets at a neighborhood restaurant when the establishment’s waiter punched him.

The mistaken attack on a young worker is the current portrait of Copacabana, a neighborhood that has become the stage for scenes of violence and confusion.

New Policing

The state secretary of Military Police (PM), Colonel Luiz Henrique Pires, admitted on Thursday (07/12) that there was a failure in policing in the South Zone of Rio.

Due to the wave of robberies, the PM announced changes in patrolling the region, with an increase in personnel and approaches starting this week. A security corridor will be created on Avenida Nossa Senhora de Copacabana, from 18h to 23h. And then, redirect the vehicles to the Avenida Atlântica promenade. Furthermore, approaches will be intensified. Agents from the Copacabana Presente program, the Government Secretariat, Rio Mais Seguro, Rio City Hall, as well as municipal guards will participate in the initiative.

Increase in Robberies and Theft

According to data from the Public Security Institute of Rio de Janeiro (ISP-RJ), with information on Civil Police records, between January and October 2022 and 2023, Copacabana had a significant increase in indicators on robbery and theft. Among the indicators of violence analyzed, the most prominent negative ones are: Passerby theft, which increased by 56.3% in one year; cell phone robbery, with a 47% increase; cell phone theft, which registered growth of 34.9%; and bus theft, with a 23% increase.

In total, Copacabana saw the total number of thefts rise by 23% in one year. If in 2022 3,978 thefts were recorded in the neighborhood, the current year had 4,914 incidents. In relation to the total number of robberies, the number increased from 760 to 951 cases, registering an increase of 25%.

Source: G1 [1] [2] [3]; O Globo

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