Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Brazil: Frequent Theft of Firearms a Factor in Crime Escalation, Inadequate Security Attributed

According to EFE, an estimated 291 handguns that were being held as evidence in a number of upcoming trials at a judicial security armory in Colombo, a city in Curitiba, were stolen on Sunday (November 25).

Inadequate security was attributed to the armed robbery.

The robbery occurred when a group of gunmen wearing ski masks overpowered a single security guard in a build which had inadequate physical security and NO surveillance cameras.

An unspecified quantity of ammunition was also stolen in the heist.

COMMENT: It is presumed that the guard was unarmed and/or ill-prepared for such a foreseeable act, as he was gagged, bound and forced to turn over the keys in the different evidence rooms where the firearms were safeguarded.

Given the poor physical security of evidence storage, it was fortuitous that the guard was conveniently left with all of the keys. If he had not been provided the keys, the massive haul and destruction of criminal cases might have been avoided.

The theft of firearms in government custody is a frequent occurrence in Latin America, largely due to a shortage of funds for effective security deterrents.

Although putting roughly 300 firearms in the hands of criminals is problematic enough, the collateral damage is that countless criminals may have to be released from custody, considering that the firearms in so many trials have been stolen.

No doubt, the gang who stole the firearms and ammunition came prepared by donning ski masks, thereby eliminating physical evidence unless, of course, they failed to wear gloves. 

Colombo is a city of roughly 217,000 residents in the southern state of Paraná. The city was founded in 1890, and is situated 1,000 meters above sea level.