The secretary of Public Security of Rio Grande do Sul and president of the National Council of Secretaries of Public Security (Consesp), Sandro Caron, intends to raise a national debate for the alteration of legislation on provisional release for violent crimes. In the State, its priorities are the fight against organized crime, prevention against femicides and reduction in robberies.
In this interview to Jornal do Comérciohe also comments on the use of body cameras by the police, electronic anklets on women aggressors and states that the violence generated by faction wars will not return to observer levels in 2015, 2016 and 2017 in the state.
Jornal do Comércio – As president of Consesp, what contributions do you intend to add?
Sandro Caron – In these meetings, we always discuss structural issues that have an impact on public safety. My great flag as president of Consesp is to open the discussion about the need for changes and legislative adjustments in Brazil.
JC – Which ones?
caron – For example, we had recent legislation that created alternative measures to imprisonment, precisely with the aim of reducing overcrowding in the prison system. These measures were created with the idea of getting people who committed minor crimes out of prison. But due to the way the law was drafted, this has allowed, today, in several concrete situations, people who commit homicide, robbery or drug trafficking to receive provisional release. I am not in favor of general incarceration at all. But one thing is obvious: a person who commits a homicide or robbery today and goes out on the street tomorrow, what will he do again? He’s going to go back to stealing, murdering. And when this process evolves, the tendency is for that person to remain on the run. And even more so in such a situation, it will be difficult for her to leave the world of crime. It is not a criticism of other authorities, of other Powers. It is a criticism of the legislation. My great defense is that we open this debate in Brazil.
JC – Here in RS, what do you attribute the improvement in crime indicators in April to?
caron – It stems from an entire strengthening of the public security system that has been taking place, various investments that have been made, hiring of new professionals in public tenders, an increase in the number of members, deliveries of vehicles, weapons, vests, technological equipment. The RS Seguro program is now four years old. The great merit is the integration it brought.
JC – Is RS Seguro the best possible plan to combat violence in the state?
caron – It’s a great plan. Of what can be done for Rio Grande do Sul, it is indeed the best program we can have. First, because he has already clearly shown that he has this great merit of integrating the State’s public security with the federal police, with the municipalities, with the Judiciary, with the Public Ministry (MP). He works on the issue of the crime-fighting axis, which is more up to the police, the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Judiciary. It also takes the axis of the prison system, which is very important, because what happens in prisons will have an impact on the street. And there is also the forecast of the so-called transversal policies, which are also actions that do not refer to the police, but that will have an impact because they carry out primary prevention. We are now thinking about expansions, bringing innovations, but I like to make it very clear that public safety in RS was very well managed. The proof of this are the results. We now come with experiences from abroad to seek to bring other innovations and to bring down (the crime rate) even more. We cannot accommodate.
JC – What are the priorities in the fight against crime?
caron – That year, in four months, we were able to put most of the numbers on a downward trend. We have three major axes that I place as priorities. One is the fight against homicide. The reduction of homicides, which is done by weakening criminal groups, factions. Most homicides are motivated by involvement of people with trafficking. Those who end up committing these homicides are the factions. Factions are weakened by arresting leaders, learning weapons and and carrying out property investigations, financial suffocation, as I call it. Locate where the money and goods obtained with crime are and, through investigation, seize them. Arrest the leaders, take away the and weapons and take the money. When these groups are weakened, there is a reduction in the number of crimes because there is very strong repression by the State. The second axis is the reduction of feminicides, which is already a completely different strategy. These are crimes that, as a rule, occur inside homes. It will not reduce feminicide with policing on the streets. The main thing is that we managed to convince women to create conditions for women victims of domestic violence to file a police report with the Civil Police. Once this record is made, the police will ask the Judiciary for a protective measure so that it can prevent a case of domestic violence from evolving into what is worse, which is feminicide. We know it’s hard. And RS had an increase in feminicides. Last year, out of 106 cases, we only had a police report and protective measure in 20. So we have to do this awareness work. Today, we have more occurrences of domestic violence than there were last year, but we have a much smaller number of feminicides. Much because of the convincing work, we opened this other channel which is the women’s online police station and the focus for investigating these domestic violence inquiries.
JC – Since last year, the State has been discussing the possibility of electronic monitoring of aggressors to prevent feminicides. How is this issue?
caron – We are finalizing the tests with the tool. We will soon sign a protocol with the Judiciary and MP to put the technology into practice.
JC – How would it work?
Caron – Once the incident report is completed, and when the Judiciary enacts the protective measure, the judge will say, in the decision, whether it is a case of placing an anklet on the aggressor. Then the victim receives a device identical to a cell phone. This monitoring will be done in the secretariat. When the aggressor fails to keep the minimum distance from the victim, an alert will be triggered on the phone that remains with the victim and for public safety. Then security will go to the victim to protect her and will locate and approach the abuser. It is already in the process of being put into practice, we are doing the last tests with the tool.
JC – It is observed that several indicators have improved in recent years in the State, but violence against women persisted. What are the causes?
caron – Since the pandemic, we have had an increase not only in RS, but also in Brazil and in the world, in the occurrence of domestic violence. Everything is still being analyzed in a scientific way. But it seems to me that the pandemic played a role. This awareness work has been carried out because it is estimated that the number of occurrences of domestic violence, due to the lack of a police report, is an underreported crime. We are looking to curb. Since January, there has been an increase in the number of BOs for domestic violence and at the same time a reduction in femicides.
JC – Many women do not feel safe in denouncing.
caron – This awareness work involves creating an environment in which the victim feels welcome to make this complaint to the authorities. As a rule, it is female police officers who respond to these occurrences. But there has to be a response from Public Security as well, which is why, by July, we are going to inaugurate the second Women’s Police Station in Porto Alegre and the Civil Police will double its capacity to deal with these domestic violence investigations.
JC – What is the third axis?
caron – It is the issue of combating crimes against property, robberies. It involves a preventive and ostensible action by the Brigade and investigations by the Civil Police into groups and gangs that carry out robberies. This fight against crimes against property has also led to a reduction in the number of robberies. We closed April with the lowest number of robberies in the historical series.
JC – What makes RS advance in safety indicators?
caron – We have been putting a lot of strength into the Brigade’s prevention actions, a lot of strength into the investigations by the Civil Police and also this sharing of intelligence between the Brigade and the Civil Police. We have been carrying out many qualified arrests. The Brigade has been carrying out an average of 300 arrests per day.
JC – Even with good numbers, the State started the year with many changes in security commands, mainly in the Civil Police. What is the reason?
caron – We have a line of management in the Federal Police, which is the same used in the Armed Forces, in which these changes in command are healthy. Public safety in RS was very well managed. It brings from the PF, and similar to what is done in the private sector, in which people occupy management positions and after two or three years there are exchanges, which are natural, so that there is oxygenation. Those who came in a management position and have been showing results receive an invitation to another management position.
JC – How is the issue of body cameras for security agents?
caron – There was a first tender, in December. The two companies that submitted proposals at the end were disqualified because the equipment did not meet the necessary specification. He decided on a new bid, which came out last week. The deadline for the answer is May 23. There are 1,100 cameras, 1,000 for the Brigade and 100 for the Civilian.
JC – How can cameras improve police performance?
caron – First, because it is a guarantee for the citizen that there will be no type of abuse by the Public Security agent. Second, it is a guarantee for the police, because he will have evidence there of what was done and what was not done. And the third is that it will be an element of evidence for the police investigation.
JC – Recently, data was revealed that showed a high rate of suicide among police officers in the state. How can the secretariat work on this issue?
caron – The secretary will always pay attention to the issue of mental health, as well as the police commands. There are already works carried out within the scope of the Military Brigade in which police officers were trained to help detect situations in which it was verified that a colleague there was eventually depressed or with some kind of problem. This issue today is a total point of attention in the secretariat and in the police.
JC – In 2022, cases of violence in faction wars occurred again, mainly in Porto Alegre. Is there a fear that there will be an escalation of violence in the state as occurred in 2015, 2016 and 2017?
caron – We are working so that this does not happen in any way. There were some situations last year and as a result an increase in homicides, especially in Porto Alegre, in the second half of last year, as a result of disputes between criminal groups. We direct actions to carry out a strong repression against these groups. Criminal groups always have to be under very strong repression by the State, with arrests, operations, arrests of leaders, et investigation work for financial asphyxiation. If homicides occur, it will be an indication that the groups are getting stronger. And then we will definitely increase this repression even more. We have almost daily actions to weaken these groups. In April, we achieved a large reduction in Porto Alegre. In the quarter, too. One of the three priorities is to weaken criminal groups to reduce homicides. Today we already have a reality of equipment and a much greater number of police than we had in 2015 and 2016. That is why I say that it is very difficult to happen again.