Abstract for: A dynamic model on the effect of Police Pacifying Units in Rio de Janeiro

Escalation of violence in urban areas is a huge concern to Brazilians. Exploring analytical methods that facilitate the understanding of the complexities that create violence is possibly the best way to encounter a solution or, at least, to find out where to start when addressing such an intricate issue. This paper proposes a dynamic model that investigates violence in probably the most emblematic of the Brazilian cities: Rio de Janeiro. We start from the assumption that such an intricate problem cannot be solved with “small fixes” or interventions at one level. Systemic understanding of the underpinning complexity generated by social actors may instead provide directions about what policy interventions can actually work in a context of endemic violence and social vulnerability. The goal of this project is to use a dynamic model to showcase complexities associated to violence in Rio in the context of the UPP program (Pacifying Police Units). We specifically look at the effect generated by the installation of UPPs in the communities in Rio – favelas -, a program that started officially in 2008. Non-linearities made explicit by our model suggest that and increase in enforcement may have short-term results, but also lead to unintended consequences with regards to the economy and geography of crime.