Money that stopped being collected with piracy would give to build 200 schools
The seizure of pirated products from December 2010 to October 2011 in São Paulo is about seven times greater than that recorded in the same period between 2009-2010. According to the Municipal Secretary of Urban Security, Edsom Ortega, from the end of last year until last month, actions by the city hall seized 35 million irregular products. In the 2009-2010 period, the total seized was 4,8 million.
According to the secretary, the tax evasion of these goods caused a loss to the public coffers that would be sufficient for the construction of 200 municipal schools, capable of serving 40 thousand basic education students.
The seizures took place in 26 major operations to combat piracy in shopping malls and commercial establishments, located mainly in the city center. The actions started to be carried out in December 2010 by the Integrated Security Management Office. Inspections were carried out in a coordinated manner between municipal agents, the Federal Revenue Service, the Federal Police, the Public Ministry and the Civil Police.
In addition to these, 1,1 million pirated and smuggled products were also seized in monitoring actions in the shopping centers that had already been inspected and that returned to sell illegal goods, some in small quantities, shortly after the inspections. Eight shopping centers have been closed and, according to the secretary, others may be sealed by the end of this year.
- Our intention is not to seal establishments. Rather, it is to make them work within the law.
Ortega says that the actions not only reduce the crime of piracy, but also theft and robbery in the region where the malls are inspected. According to Ortega, only in the region of 25 de Março, where large shopping centers underwent inspection this year, such as the Pagé gallery and the Oriental shopping mall, 60% the number of robberies and thefts after operations.
- Not to mention the organized crime scheme behind the crime of smuggling and piracy. So this [combating piracy] has a very important role in reducing several crimes. There is already evidence, according to the police, of reduced theft and robbery in the region of these establishments that are under inspection.
Another crime that fell, according to the secretary, was theft of vehicles. He claims that cars are stolen for use by smugglers to transport illegal goods.
Ortega says that an important factor in the fight against piracy is to show the population that those who consume the goods are also committing a crime. He says that during operations, people who buy piracy are also being identified. So, in addition to apprehending the material, the police still qualify the person to respond to the inquiry for receiving illegal products.
He believes, however, that the mentality of the population is changing and that today young people and children are already more aware that piracy is a problem.
Despite being more aware of crimes involving smuggling, and knowing that pirated products can be harmful, the population does not seem to decrease the consumption of illegal products. A survey by Fecomércio-RJ / Ipsos reveals that the consumption of pirated products by the Brazilian population grew between 2010 (48%) and 2011 (52%).
It was the first time since the survey began in 2006, when more than half of the population admitted to having purchased a pirated product in the year. Turning this percentage into absolute numbers, approximately 74,3 million Brazilians contributed to this crime, compared to 68,4 million last year. In other words, about 6 million Brazilians who did not consume pirated products in 2010 started to buy them this year.
Another fact that the research shows is the significant adhesion of classes A and B to the consumption of pirated products from one year to the next. In 2010, 47% of respondents in these classes stated that they had purchased an item of this nature. This year, 57% admitted to having bought counterfeit products.
For the professor of Law at PUC (Pontifical Catholic University) José Roberto Gusmão, the efforts of the city hall in the fight against piracy are visible. He mentions that this type of action did not exist for ten years. Today, it exists and has been intensifying for some years.
- Looking from a process perspective, I see that the combat is improving.
He believes, however, that the country has to join efforts to fight piracy and that there is still much to be done. According to the professor, there is a lack of unity to fight crime. In addition, the professor says that they must work in association with private initiatives, which also lose out on piracy and also spend on fighting crime.
- I think that the three entities can join efforts: the Union, the State and the municipality. There are isolated efforts to fight crime and, therefore, there is a waste of energy.
He also says that the government needs to have imagination to deal with small street vendors. He mentions that it would be better if they had an outlet trade - a set of stores that sell products from major brands directly from the factory, that is, with more accessible prices -, where they could work with commerce and with more accessible prices.
- You have to have an imagination of the State, it is not possible that, in a world like ours, a person can only find employment in illegality.
The idea of the outlet has already been mentioned by the secretary of urban security. After the inspection operation, which closed Galeria Pagé for ten days, a traditional shopping center in the central region of São Paulo, the city announced in April this year that it intends to transform it into an outlet. The project, however, has not yet defined a start date.
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