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‘Crossfire’ app helps Rio residents avoid gunfights

Police actions and gunfights in Rio de Janeiro can be reported and avoided using a new smartphone app. (CP DC Press /

Weary residents of Rio de Janeiro’s favelas have a new crime-fighting tool: a smartphone app.

Catherine Osborn reports for Public Radio International that software designed by Amnesty International Brazil helps locals avoid trouble spots, such as police actions and gunfights.

Fogo Cruzado, Portuguese for “crossfire,” is one of several safety-minded apps that Rio’s residents use to stay safe, the radio network says. Details about shootouts, location, injuries, fatalities and other vital information is crowd-sourced by users. The app also fills a statistical void since the city does not compile data on shootouts.

Poised to host the Summer Olympics next month, Rio is among the most dangerous cities to host the games, with almost 19 killings per 100,000 inhabitants, Osborn reports. Cecília Olliveira, the app’s data director, tells PRI that Rio’s metro area already has endured an estimated 570-plus gun fights this year.  The app also has another purpose, notes Rio Amnesty campaign coordinator Rebeca Lerer. It can serve as a lever to strengthen political and public pressure on safety issues.


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