RIO DE JANEIRO: Rio de Janeiro will deploy double the number of security personnel for next year’s Olympic Games than were used in the 2012 London games, officials said on Thursday.
Some 85,000 personnel will be deployed, including 38,000 military troops, Rio’s security secretary, Andrei Passos Rodrigues, told a news conference.
“It will be the biggest integrated operation in the history of our country,” he said.
The huge security presence will dwarf that of London, where 40,000 personnel were used, including 18,000 troops.
Despite high crime rates, Brazilian security chiefs say they have enough experience at policing mega events, such as the 2012 UN Rio+20 environmental summit attended by 191 countries, a 2013 visit by Pope Francis, the Confederations Cup in 2013 and the World Cup in 2014.
Because the Olympics is mostly concentrated within Rio, the security response will be “very intense,” Rodrigues said.
The city will have 47,500 members of the paramilitary police and other security forces, while 38,000 troops will provide security in the five other cities hosting Olympic football matches: Sao Paulo, Brasilia, Belo Horizonte, Salvador and Manaus.
Brazil has one of the world’s worst crime rates, with an estimated 52,000 murders a year, compared to just over 14,000 in 2013 for the US, which has a population more than 100 million people greater.
In Rio itself, crime has dropped over the last year, but there were still 625 murders between January and June, as well as 1,267 attempted murders.