In Rio’s slums, Stanford researchers study police reform

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Policemen chat during their break at Rocinha favela. Beatriz Magaloni

Working in the slums of Rio de Janeiro, a team of Stanford researchers led by Beatriz Magaloni, are partnering with the Brazilian government and civil society to better understand how recent security policy has impacted violence and insecurity amongst the urban poor. 

Policemen chat during their break at Rocinha favela.
Magaloni, an associate professor of political science and senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute, leads the Program on Poverty and Governance (PovGov) at Stanford’s Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, which works to uncover what policies work – and do not – so they can help make improvements to curb violence in Latin America’s largest cities.

PovGov’s evaluations of programs in Brazil and Mexico have uncovered findings to make security policy and policing more effective and introduced new initiatives, such as body worn cameras for the police in Brazil, to help monitor policy activity and reduce excessive violence.

The PovGov team also works to evaluate government and grassroots programs serving at-risk youth in poor communities to evaluate which initiatives have been most effective in providing alternatives to violence for urban youth.

Magaloni, who also serves as an academic expert to the World Bank on urban violence, hopes that the findings from their current project in Rio will help to influence interventions in other areas of Latin America that are gripped by violence, fear and insecurity.

For more information on the Program on Poverty and Governance’s work in Brazil, please click here.