The Brazilian Forum of Public Security (FBSP), with support from the Institute for Climate and Society (iCS) and a partnership with researchers from the Research Group of Emerging Territories and Resistance Networks in the Amazon (TERRA), of the University of the State of Pará – UEPA, is developing the project “Mapping of the Violence in the Amazon Region.” This aims, in summary, to cross-reference and analyze data regarding unlawful actions, criminality and public security in the Amazon with the socioenvironmental debate. The project integrates the idea that the Amazon is one of the main strategic assets of Brazil, which places it at the center of the geopolitical discussion of the global climate. It paves the way for a frank debate involving the connections and interfaces between some of the main problems of the region.
In short, the preliminary findings of the project allowed the formulation of 3 arguments:
i) The intense presence of organized crime factions and the disputes between them over the national and transnational drug routes that cross the region contribute to the increase in the rates of intentional homicides/violent deaths in its states, placing them above the national average. The deficits in the governance and structure of the public security apparatus, especially with respect to the criminal investigation of crimes/offenses committed in the region, and justice leave the region hostage to alliances and conflicts of the dynamics of organized crime and its overlap and exchanges with environmental crimes (deforestation, illegal mining and land grabbing, etc.);
ii) Between 2018 and 2020, the dynamics of lethal violence in the Amazon region differentiated itself from the rest of the country, especially due to the accentuated internalization of the violence. There is a reduction of urban homicides at a more heightened pace than in the rest of Brazil. Simultaneously, homicides in the rural and intermediary Amazon municipalities are increasing, while the homicides in similar municipalities in the rest of the country are decreasing. This phenomenon points to the importance of agrarian conflicts and environmental crimes, which coexist and intertwine in the territory with the dynamics of the criminal factions.
iii) In the Amazon municipalities under pressure from deforestation, we found homicide rates higher than the national rates and those of the Legal Amazon region, reinforcing the previous argument. Consequently, the mere militarization and/or deployment of security forces from outside the region to meet specific demands for command and control is not only extremely expensive but also has little effect. It is necessary to invest in the strengthening of the integrated mechanisms of command and control that connect the federal and state spheres and, in particular, the different agencies and government branches (civil police, military police, public defenders, IBAMA, ICMBio and the judiciary, among others). To guarantee sovereignty and development, the logic that will allow the reduction of crimes and violence must be the construction of institutional capacities and not the militarized and temporary occupation of the territory.