Rio de Janeiro less dangerous than St. Louis, and other police news

The northeastern city of Salvador says it will follow Rio de Janeiro’s lead and deploy its own peacekeeping police forces in slum neighborhoods. It’s supposed to happen sometime before the end of this year. Meanwhile, Rio’s top brass are saying their own initiative to put peacekeeping forces in favelas is responsible for an unprecedented drop in crime. Last year, Rio had 4,768 homicides, the lowest total since they began keeping records in 1991. For comparison, that’s still nine times the total homicides recorded in New York City last year. But if you look at the homicide rate – the more commonly accepted measure which counts intentional deaths per unit of population -- Rio is about half as deadly as New Orleans and 25 percent less so than St. Louis, according to the latest FBI numbers, which are for 2009.