By Tom Degun at the International Sport Security Conference in Doha

Jos Mariano_Beninc_Beltrame_15_MarchMarch 15 - Federal Police Chief José Mariano Benincá Beltrame (pictured), the Secretary of Security for Rio de Janeiro, has claimed that the 2016 Olympic and Paralympics Games will create a legacy of safety and security in the region following a history violence.

Gang-related violence has plagued Rio for decades with the majority of it contained within the city's slums, known as favelas (a group of them pictured below with new cable car system that provides alternative and accessible transport).

The favelas have been the scene of hundreds of murders and drug trafficking incidents but Beltrame, who was appointed as Rio's Secretary of Security back in 2007, said that winning the right to host the Olympics back in 2009 has allowed the city to engage in a major project to help integrate people from the worst hit areas back into mainstream society.

"Before now, we have never had a chance to help people in the favelas and they have been very isolated," he said here at the International Sport Security Conference in Doha.

"But now that we have the World Cup coming to Brazil in 2014 and the Olympics coming to Rio in 2016, we have been able to change this.

"For the last three years, we have been sending the police into the areas where all of the drug trafficking and the violence has taken place but this is not to arrest people – this is to help them integrate with society.

"For so long Rio has been divided, but this is our chance to bridge the gap and everybody has responded very positively to the move on both sides.

"We are already seeing huge success because crime rates have dropped and we are recovering areas that had never been part of society before.

Integrated favelas_Rio_15_March
"This is a legacy from the Olympic Games that is happening right now and after the Olympics are gone, it will leave legacy of safety and security after so many years of violence."

The Rio Secretary of Security added that there is no way that Rio will go back to being a divided city following the conclusion of 2016 because of the provisions that are now in place in the region.

"We will not go back because we can already see improvements that were never happening before," he said.

"Crime is down, the project is law so everybody obeys it and the budget is in place to continue this project for many years so that we can fully integrate Rio by 2014.

"That is our goal and then we can maintain that to 2016 and beyond once we are all united.

"We have always been on opposite sides and against each other but now we are on the same side and working to the same goals.

"Everything is better and that is the great legacy of the Olympics."

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