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Graphic shows locations of main favelas (slums) and murder rates for 2009-2015.

RIO 2016

Violence seeps back into Rio's favelas

By Duncan Mil

July 28, 2016 - Since Rio de Janeiro was awarded the Games in 2009 -- promising a safe city for all -- more than 15,000 people have been murdered, including at least 2,500 people killed by the city’s security forces.

After six years of progress, violence and crime are returning to the streets of the so-called “Marvellous City”. In favelas, or shantytowns, like Santa Marta, Pavaozinho and Babilonia the much-heralded Police Pacification projects (UPP) have stalled, drugs gangs have moved back in, and the murder rate is rising.

In Favela Babilonia -- with hillside bars overlooking Copacabana, where Olympic beach volleyball and the triathlon will take place -- gang members from a neighbouring favela tried to overthrow the group that controls the drug trade. The ensuing firefight left three drug dealers dead.

Murders in Rio are up 15 percent from last year, and robbery is up 30 percent. Police officers, angered at not being paid by the state for months, have posted a sign outside Rio's main airport that says "Welcome to Hell”.

PUBLISHED: 28/07/2016; STORY: Graphic News