Disque-Denúncia (Dial-Denounce) is a telephone service for combating crime, which operates in several Brazilian states. In a nutshell, Disque-Denúncia allows the average citizen to help the authorities combat crime, allowing also a means for people to vent their daily frustrations.
The program was conceived in Rio de Janeiro in 1995, when the city was under a high wave of crime. At the invite of the civil entity Movimento Rio de Combate ao Crime (Movement to Combat Crime in Rio, or MOVRIO), José Antônio Borges Fortes, came up with the idea of the service. Once the crime is logged, the service makes that information available to the police and in a sense puts public security in the hands of the people.
Inspired by the American show “Crime Stoppers”, the Brazilian version is based on the following ideas:
– guarantee of anonymity of the caller;
– guarantee that, even being financed partially by public funds, it won’t suffer any political interference (all the workers are contracted);
– guarantee that the program won’t be subordinated to the Police.
Implanted in August of 1995, by 2006 the service had reached one million calls. To give a scope of call volume on a daily basis, when it opened they averaged one-hundred and twenty calls, and today they average close to seven-hundred.
The program is made up of a central number (21) 2253-1177, with twelve customer service posts which operate 24/7.
Each denunciation is digitized, gets a number and the caller receives a password – so that they can accompany the investigation. The report is then sent to the Civil, Military and Federal Police so that it can be followed (unless it is against an officer in which case it is sent to Internal Affairs). After this, it is archived in a data bank holding more than four million reports to date. Aside from the principal function of the service, the data is also used to aid the Police by providing key information on criminal activities, all indexed by neighborhood. For example, if a criminal just robbed someone and it has been called in, the police, if nearby, can utilize the DD database to see which escape routes were used in the past in that area, who previous suspects were, etc.
The results of these cases are then sent to the media, with the objective of showing the importance and efficiancy of the service.
The success of the project in Rio de Janeiro stimulated the creation of other DD’s:
- In 2000, in Pernambuco;
- In 2001, in Espírito Santo;
- In 2002, in Campinas (São Paulo);
- In 2005, in Salvador (Bahia)
The service can also be utilized in cases of scamming. Such as with a false kidnapping, where the ‘kidnapper’ claims to have kidnapped a family member. If the family member suspects a scam, they can call DD to report it.
I’ve been told of various situations. In one, the ‘kidnapped family member’ is actually with the receiver of the call, while in other cases the scammer knows the ‘kidnapped person’ is at work so they tell the family member to pay a ransom or else. If they try to call the cell phone of the person kidnapped then the kidnapper threatens to kill that person. In yet another example, the ‘kidnapper’ will call a random number in the phone book during the daytime, when the empregada (housekeeper) answers the phone, the scammer pretends to be a family friend and asks for the cell phone of the owner of the house.
An interesting fact is that most of the people calling DD don’t ask for any kind of compensation (and even refuse it if offered), but rather they wish to do something good for the sake of doing something good. Call it altruism, if you will.