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>> It's the world's biggest outdoor party, more than 6 million people, including 1.5 million visitors, are expected to flood Rio over the next few days to party in the streets as part of Brazil's annual carnival. But police and government officials have more to worry about than people staying out too late and drinking far too much.
Reuters Brazilian correspondent, Alexandra Alper.>> The festivities this year come amid a wave of violence, as rival drug gangs face off in Rio's favellas. Fogo Cruzado, a group that tracks armed violence in Rio, says that the reports of shootings average 22 per day in January compared to just 16 per day last year.
Just this past Tuesday, a 3 year old girl was killed in a robbery and a 13 year old boy died after being caught in the crossfire between police and traffickers as he made his way home after a soccer game.>> Rio's police department has gone on a hiring spree leading up to the celebration.
It's beefed up the police force to 17,000, after the government refused to kick in extra support from federal troops. But a bigger police force won't solve what's causing the crime spike in the first place.>> The crime wave has its roots in a deep economic crisis in Brazil as well as a depleted state budget which meant big cuts in funding for a police pacification program.
That program, started in 2008, had been successful in lowering crime rates in the lead up to the World Cup and the Olympics.>> Just like those events, much is riding on Rio hosting a safe carnival. Revelers are expected to drop over a billion dollars on a city that knows how to party even with gang warfare lurking in the shadows.