State interventions against drug traﬃcking organizations (DTOs) sometimes work to improve security, but often exacerbate violence. To understand why, this paper oﬀers a theory about diﬀerent social order dynamics among ﬁve types of criminal regimes – Insurgent, Bandit, Symbiotic, Predatory, and Anarchic. These diﬀer according to whether criminal groups confront or collude with state actors; predate or cooperate with the community; and hold a monopoly or contest territory with rival DTOs. Police interventions in these criminal orders pose diﬀerent challenges and are associated with markedly diﬀerent local security outcomes. Evidence for the theory is provided by the use a multi-method research design combining quasi-experimental statistical analyses, extensive qualitative research and a large N survey in the context of Rio de Janeiro’s “Pacifying Police Units” (UPPs), which sought to reclaim control of the slums from organized criminal groups.