Cecilia Oliveira

Protecting lives from gun violence

Cecilia Oliveira

Project: Fogo Cruzado

The goal of this project is to expand a community-driven open data platform and reduce the impact of armed violence to build a more just society.

“Homicide increased by 5% in 2020. Data is provisional, as it does not include the numbers of deaths from police intervention. And why not include? Because not all states pass this on monthly. And why don't they pass it on? Because they don't want to. It's not good, and we don't even really know the reality...”

The Big Idea

Rio de Janeiro has one of the highest incidences of shootings in the world. In certain parts of the city, drug gangs, police, and armed militias roam the streets while ordinary citizens normalise gun violence’s grave consequences. Yet news reports do not tell the same story that residents know to be true. Instead, the authorities double down on an unwinnable war on drugs policy, distort official figures by discounting stray bullets - balas perdidas - and remain resistant to change course.

But things are changing at a community level thanks to Cecília Olliveira’s work with Fogo Cruzado. She is building an open data platform that empowers citizens and helps them avoid shooting hotspots in real-time; not only saving lives but using accurate data to shift thinking at all levels of Brazilian society. Currently, Cecília’s work is confined to Rio de Janeiro and Recife. Her fellowship is an opportunity to test whether this life-saving project can replicate in new communities and change the narrative - and policy - around gun violence in Brazil and Latin America.

Why We Funded

Armed violence is Brazil’s most fundamental issue. Ending it seems impossible. But Cecília has a profound understanding of the communities most affected by shootings and has already demonstrated Fogo Cruzado’s power to create change at a local level under actively hostile circumstances.

Cecília is the ideal person to drive this idea forward and create a deeper level of sense-making in academia, a new narrative for journalists, and an urgency for authorities to change policy. The open aspect of this project is also intriguing. Can Fogo Cruzado be replicated, not just in new locations but in other contexts where accurate, open data can help society flourish?

Cecília’s work focuses on:

  • Expanding Fogo Cruzado to more Brazilian cities, empowering the voices of communities, and engaging media, institutions and governments with accurate, open data
  • Finding local partners and training them to function efficiently and gain media exposure
  • Providing diverse, critical information to community members, inspiring them to participate in organised calls to action, and uniting a divided population around a singular goal: ending gun violence.