how groups that terrorize SP act

The coexistence of inmates in the federal prison system with Marco Willians Herba Camacho, Marcola, appointed as head of the PCC (First Command of the Capital), led to the formation of new gangs specialized in bank robberies in the last 20 years, known today as the ” new bandit”.

This type of criminal group was responsible for the action that left at least three people dead and another four injured at dawn yesterday (30) in Araçatuba (SP), the most violent of its kind in the last two years, according to the Brazilian Public Security Forum. Experts heard by UOL detail the way of acting and the structure of these gangs, which attacked at least six cities in the interior of São Paulo in just over a year.

Scientific coordinator of the Laboratory for the Study of Violence at UFC (Federal University of Ceará), Jania Perla de Aquino says that the contact of other inmates with Marcola made it possible to exchange information and knowledge about this type of action, giving rise to robberies with groups interstates.

Burglars from other states began to socialize, interact and articulate. There, they even exchanged information about crime planning. One of the characteristics of the PCC was precisely the organized bank robberies. Marcola is considered someone with the capacity to elaborate and plan this type of crime.
Jania Perla de Aquino, specialist in public safety

According to the specialist, these groups began to operate in the Northeast 20 years ago in cities in the interior of Pernambuco, Rio Grande do Norte, Ceará and Paraíba, giving rise to the name known as “new cangaço”.

“Delegates investigating these crimes created expression because of attacks on police stations and barracks, obstructing the entrance of cities to avoid police reinforcements from neighboring cities. This referred to cangaço, which was the type of crime that occurred in gangs, terrorizing the population These gangs ‘take over’ the cities they pass through,” says Aquino.

As of 2010, he explains, their performance has improved and become more violent due to the actions of the authorities to combat these crimes. The groups then proceeded to use explosive devices to impose a scenario of terror.

“Explosives cause greater damage to property and a psychological impact on people in areas far from the capitals, where policing is more limited. This type of approach has become widespread and generates a stir because of fear in the cities”, says the expert.

According to her, cronies usually act in more than one action.

There are people acting together. They repeat the same strategy in different municipalities and improve themselves. The way they address the hostages creates the impression that they are impulsive actions. But it’s a false impression. This performative attitude, with the visual and sound impact of the robberies, is aimed precisely at terrifying the population and the authorities.
Jania Perla de Aquino, specialist in public safety

The action in Araçatuba highlights the escalation of violence in the actions of the “new cangaço”, explains Renato Sérgio de Lima, president of the Brazilian Forum on Public Security. “Araçatuba is different from the standard, because it does not repeat the model of attacks on cities in the interior where there is no police structure. Before, they were actions that only caused fear and panic to the population. Now, they have led to deaths”, he says.

Map Araçatuba - São Paulo - Arte UOL - Arte UOL
Image: UOL Art

Rafael Alcadipani, a professor at FGV (Getúlio Vargas Foundation) in public administration and a security specialist, said that the action surprised even the authorities due to the use of previously unexplored resources in this type of crime, such as the drones that monitored the movement through the city.

“There was innovation with the use of explosives and drones. It seems that criminals are becoming more specialized and organized. They are improving the way to carry out this type of attack. They are cinematic crimes, with the use of extreme violence. Unfortunately, the state can’t give an adequate answer”, he analyzed.

Attack on Araçatuba

Who’s who in the ‘new cangaço’

  • Supervisor – Is the crime’s intellectual mentor, in charge of planning and gathering information. However, they avoid being called “leaders” so that they do not become targets if the endeavor is not successful. Authorities point out that there are at most 30 criminals in the country with these characteristics.
  • Recruiters – They are responsible for the formation of criminal groups. They set criteria, such as discretion, and even moral conditions — such as avoiding “hiring” thieves who might try to steal from their own cronies after the crime.
  • shooters – Specialists in the handling of high-caliber weapons, many of them are former members of the Armed Forces or former police officers. They are also those who take the initiative in actions.
  • Explosivists – They are specialized in the use of explosive devices. Like snipers, they can also be ex-security officers.
  • drivers – Members of the gang with great skill to make escapes while driving powerful vehicles.
  • Drones – Responsible for monitoring actions with the aid of drones.

What is “new bandit”

The term refers to criminals who invaded Northeastern cities in the early 20th century to rob banks and strong cars. At the time, Virgulino Ferreira da Silva, Lampião, the most famous cangaceiro in history, acted.

The tactic is usually the same: criminals with high-caliber weapons and explosives generate panic in the population and leave the city. The actions of the “new cangaço” may have members of criminal factions, especially the PCC. But they are usually not financed by the criminal organization, which can, however, rent weapons and logistical items.