Are favelas safe?

City of God
Favelas are often associated with violence, and labeled dangerous, but
this perception is often perpetrated by negative media portrayal. Yes,
violence and drugs do exist in favelas but drugs and violence are not the defining issue of life there. There are different types of favelas. Some are governed by drug traffickers, others by militia which
are community members who took it upon themselves to protect their
community, and there are favelas that have police stationed within.

Usually trafficker (bandido) ran favelas have strict rules regarding
stealing, fighting, rape, ect. Traffickers do not want police to have a
reason to enter their territory so they make sure they regulate it with
a heavy fist. If you are caught stealing, or committing a crime it can
result in severe punishment. For this reason the favela is safer
than the streets. Occasionally you can run into problems if a rival
gang tries to take over or also when the police raid the community. Not
all favelas have these problems. Larger favelas in Rio de Janeiro like
Rocinha and Vidigal don’t worry about rival gangs or police raids
therefore these neighborhoods are safer and in result have more

It has been said that the police stationed favelas are safer than the
rest because there are no police raids, or rival gangs fighting to gain
territory. Currently in Rio de Janeiro police are stationed in Tavares
Bastos, Santa Marta, City of God(Cidade de Deus), Chapeu Mangeiras, and

In general there is no doubt that violence and drugs are problems in
favelas, but this issue is not just isolated within favelas in
Brazil but throughout the world. It is unfair to define a favela as a
dangerous and drug ridden because that’s only one aspect, the favelas
are filled with many community centers, churches, and regular everyday
people, but because of some bad favelas, a few movies and negative
portrayal in the news favelas have been given an undeserved reputation


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