69% of Rio residents want to move out

Postcard views and beautiful beaches may be nice for tourists, but most Cariocas want to leave.  Governor Wilson Witzel’s violent security policies and fear of organized crime militias are cited as reasons for residents’ dissatisfaction with the city

Results of a survey by the Brazilian polling agency DataFolha, released on Tuesday, December 17, show that the population of Rio de Janeiro is highly unsatisfied with the way that governor Wilson Witzel’s security policy, which is the issue which led to his election last year. 55% of respondents surveyed described the current state security policy as “bad” or “very bad”, while only 15% described it as “excellent” or “good”.

An even more telling sign of the failure of Witzel’s security policy is the fear that is installed among Rio de Janeiro city residents. According to the survey, 69% of the residents of Rio de Janeiro would like to move to another city. One of the main supporting factors for this wish is fear of the city’s paramilitary organized crime militias, some of which appear to have links to the Bolsonaro family. 86% of respondents surveyed say that they are afraid of these groups.

Since taking office in Rio de Janeiro last January, former judge Wilson Witzel has embarked on a security policy that is based on the use of helicopter gunners and ground based snipers which shoot indiscriminately into favelas. These policies have led to over 1600 police killings, and a large increase in the number of deaths of children from stray bullets, as was the case of the 8-year old girl Ághata Félix in September.

8-year-old Ághata Félix was one of the 1600 Rio de Janeiro citizens killed by the police this year. Most victims were Afro-Brazilians. Activists say there is a genocide underway in Rio de Janeiro.


DataFolha’s survey was commissioned by Folha de São Paulo and O Globo newspapers, and interviewed a sample population of 872. The margin of error is plus or minus three percentage points.

This article was translated and edited by Brian Mier, originally appeared in Revista Fórum and can be seen in Portuguese here.