Instituto Fogo Cruzado — or Crossfire Institute in English — is a groundbreaking initiative in data journalism and public security founded in 2015 by Cecília Olliveira. Fogo Cruzado’s team tracks every episode of armed violence in 34 Brazilian cities, verifies the information, sends real-time push notifications to users, and follows up to file 27 unique metrics to an open-source database. The real-time information is relied on by over 400,000 users to stay out of harm’s way and the dataset is used by journalists, researchers, and public officials to better understand armed violence and demand accountability.
Cecilia started the project out of frustration: Rio de Janeiro’s public security officials were either hiding or intentionally not collecting data that were essential for journalists like her to do their jobs properly. The idea began as a simple spreadsheet, but quickly garnered support from Amnesty International to grow into a more substantial operation.
Now, Fogo Cruzado is one of the largest and most trusted sources of information on armed violence in Brazil with a 21-person team and plans to expand. We are regularly cited by all major national and international news outlets and have partnered with nearly 100 academic institutions. Fogo Cruzado data has been used in important Supreme Court decisions and to justify lifesaving new legislation and regulations.
For its work, Fogo Cruzado was a finalist in the Innovare Awards, in the Justice and Citizenship category (2021), one of the winners of the Republic Prize for Appreciation of the Federal Public Prosecutor's Office, in the Social Responsibility category (2020), was a finalist in the “Open Data ” with the data API (2020) and one of the winners of the Amaerj Patrícia Acioli Human Rights Award, in the “Humanistic Practices” category (2018).
Fogo Cruzado was also highlighted as one of the most innovative initiatives in the world in the publication “Atlas of Innovation for Economic Stability”, by FHI 360 (The Science of Improving Lives), funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, in the USA. In all, 63 initiatives were listed that use technology and data as tools that promote stability for people, communities and countries. Brazil was highlighted due to its vulnerability in public security, of which Rio de Janeiro has been a great example.
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