Tsavkko Garcia, Raphael
Publication year: 2020

Dueling gunshots ring across Rio de Janeiro daily, as armed battles involving drug traffickers as well as police claim thousands of lives in the Brazilian city every year. In one week in September alone, at least 33 people were shot in 69 shootings. Thirteen of them were killed.

Those hard numbers don’t come from government sources or police dispatches. They come from Fogo Cruzado (“Crossfire”), a mobile app and online platform that gathers and cross-checks gunfire reports from journalists, police officers and residents around the city. Created by journalist and researcher Cecilia Oliveira in 2016 with the support of Amnesty International and a team of volunteers, the app aims to improve on a dearth of reliable data and alert civilians to dangerous events. Another app introduced in 2017, Onde Tem Tiroteio (“Where There’s a Shooting”), is similar — it maps reports of shootings, floods, demonstrations, robberies and fake police checkpoints sent in from users.

Such battles often erupt in the city’s hundreds of favelas — low-income, densely packed neighborhoods of informal settlements where city services are often lacking. There, residents and nearby travelers have relied on local knowledge to avoid the stray bullets that routinely claim innocent lives.

Full article at Bloomberg CityLab’s website. Date of publication: 29/09/2020.

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