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Brazil police hires Batman to fight crime

posted 17 Mar 2012, 16:56 by Mpelembe   [ updated 18 Mar 2012, 09:32 ]

From comics to real life -- Brazilian police hire Batman to help them battle crime in the violent streets of Taubate, in Sao Paulo.

TAUBATE, BRAZIL (MARCH 17, 2012) (REUTERS - This is not Gotham city, but Batman has been called to help police patrol the crime-ridden streets of Taubate, in Brazil.

The super-hero behind the black rubber suit is 50-year-old Andre Luiz Pinheiro, a retired police officer who is not so worried about keeping his identity a secret.

He was officially presented on Saturday (March 17) inside a public school of one of the districts with the highest crime rates in Sao Paulo state.

Dozens of thrilled children, some dressed like their favorite super-hero, rejoiced as Batman walked out into the school patio to the film's theme song.

Police captain Warley Takeo, one of the policemen who decided to bring in the character to help them fight drug traffickers, said the measure would bring long-term benefits.

Takeo said making a connection between the police and Batman would help children have a clearer idea of good and bad.

"Police acts in favour of good and the state works in favour of good through the police, and since Batman is also a character who works in favour of good, we decided to join efforts to prevent children from becoming criminals," he said.

The move is part of a larger effort to restore the image of police forces in the city and approach officers to the communities they patrol.

It is yet to be confirmed whether the super-hero's participation will help drop crime rates in the neighbourhood, but Pinheiro's debut was surely a hit.

He said he was not going to fight crime like regular police officers, but rather help children to stay away from crime.

"The police unit's chief invited me to take part in this project, but my participation will be merely playful; I will not actually battle crime. But I do think I am fighting crime in a preventive way, by avoiding that these children become criminals. This is my job, this is my battle," he said.

If Batman's success relies on this district's children, then he can rest assured.

Eduardo Mendes, a five-year-old fan, believes the caped crusader will help arrest criminals.

"He will help arrest the bad guys," he said.

Twelve-year-old Bruna Silva said Pinheiro will help children and youths avoid wrongdoings.

"He will help by giving people good advice; he will help by making them avoid the wrong path… He will be helpful," she said.

Although Pinheiro will not have all the crime-fighting tools that his comics counterpart carries, the make-belief Batman will rely on his good communication skills to make a difference in the Brazilian city.