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Governor Wagner shrugged off such assertions, noting that Bahia holds a Carnaval celebration every year where more than one million people take to the streets, with 22,000 police officers providing security.

“We have gone four years without a homicide on the parade route,” he said.

(Bahia officials said that after leveling off in 2010, homicides were down 13 percent through July 2011 compared with the first seven months of 2010.) Travel agencies say they are concerned about the rise in violent crime in Bahia’s slums — as well as the drug-fueled petty assaults in Pelourinho, Salvador’s colorful historic center.

“They do not believe in the police because they were the police.

And like Rio, it is preparing to co-host the 2014 World Cup.

So the authorities here are taking a page from Rio’s playbook, trying to grapple with the surge in violent crime by establishing permanent police units in violent areas frequented by drug traffickers.

But more rampant drug trafficking, fueled in part by criminal gangs operating out of São Paulo, has greatly worsened the situation, Mr. The arrival of crack cocaine has been particularly devastating.

In Nova Constituinte, a community on the outskirts of Salvador that sprouted on a former banana plantation, a series of drug-related killings has stalked the area for the past five years, including the massacre of six teenagers caught in the crossfire of rival gangs, said Arnaldo Anselmo, 42, a community leader.

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