This chapter engages with a proliferating series of ‘risks’ in the era of globalization, including international movement of migrants and refugees, climate change and transnational criminal networks. Exploring the theme of securitization and the attendant risks of desecuritization in the specific context of Brazil, it argues that the emergence of new policing strategies and their relation to neoliberal urbanism failed to transform the repressive character of the policing of poor communities. Mass incarceration policies fuelled the emergence and expansion of networked criminal organizations. Combining ethnographic perspectives on what people living in poor communities think about crime and policing with research on police themselves, this analysis explores paradoxes that require us to understand how specific conditions in Brazil influence the impact of broader global trends. In conclusion, a political anthropology that combines perspectives on securitization from above and below can advance a realist consequentialist critique of what securitization does.