Rio de Janeiro Warnings and Dangers

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    by easterntrekker
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    by JohnniOmani
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Most Recent Warnings and Dangers in Rio de Janeiro

  • ddbarton48's Profile Photo

    Personal Security Advice

    by ddbarton48 Updated Dec 17, 2014

    Rio de Janeiro:
    The city continues to experience high incidences of crime. Tourists are particularly vulnerable to street thefts and robberies in the evening and at night especially in areas adjacent to major tourist attractions. There have been attacks, including shootings, along trails leading to the famous Corcovado Mountain and in other parts of the Tijuca Forest. If robbed, do not attempt to resist or fight back, but rather relinquish your personal belongings. At all times, pay close attention to your surroundings and the behavior of those nearby. There have been reports of thieves and rapists slipping incapacitating drugs into drinks at bars, hotel rooms, and street parties. While crime occurs throughout the year, it is more frequent during Carnival and the weeks prior.

    When choosing lodging, carefully consider location, security, and the availability of a safe to store valuables. Do not answer your hotel room door until you positively confirm who is on the other side. Look out the peephole or call the front desk to confirm the visitor. There have been several recent incidents where mass holdups of guests have occurred at hotels and hostels in the city.

    Rio de Janeiro’s favelas are a subject of curiosity for many U.S. travelers. A favela pacification program, instituted in 2008, installed police stations in some favelas, primarily in the Zona Sul area. However, most favelas exist outside the control of city officials and police. Travelers are urged to exercise caution when entering any “pacified” favelas and should not go into favelas that are not “pacified” by the state government. Even in some “pacified” favelas, the ability of police to provide assistance, especially at night, may be limited. Room rentals and hostels are being advertised in “pacified” favelas and several local companies offer “favela jeep tours” targeted at foreign tourists. According to the local news, pacified favelas Complexo do Alemão and Rocinha still have a problem with violence. In September 2014, the commander of the military police based in Complexo do Alemão was killed in a shootout with local drug traffickers. Be aware that neither the tour company nor the city police can guarantee your safety when entering or staying in any favela.

    Be vigilant while on the roads, especially at night. There have been shootings and carjackings on the Linha Vermelha that links the airport to the Southern Zone of the city. In Rio de Janeiro, motorists should be especially vigilant at stoplights and when stuck in traffic. Carjackings and holdups can occur at intersections, especially at night. Incidents of crime on public transportation are frequent, and at times have involved violent crimes. When traveling by yellow taxi, tourists are recommended only to use taxis openly displaying company information and phone numbers as well as red license plates. Tourists are also advised not to use public vans.

    Visitors should also remain alert to the possibility of manhole cover explosions. There have been multiple manhole cover explosions in Rio de Janeiro in the past few years, with a higher incidence in the Centro and Copacabana neighborhoods.

    Report all incidents to Rio's tourist police (DEAT) at (21) 2332-2924. The tourist police have been very responsive to victims.

    VICTIMS OF CRIME: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. We can:
    Replace a stolen passport.
    Help you find appropriate medical care if you are the victim of violent crimes such as assault or rape.
    Put you in contact with the appropriate police authorities, and if you want us to, contact family members or friends.
    Help you understand the local criminal justice process and direct you to local attorneys, although it is important to remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.

    The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Brazil is divided beween three services: 190 - Policia (Police), 192- Ambulancia (Ambulance), and 193- Bombeiros (Fire Department).

    Please see our information for victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.

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    WHERE IS DOWNTOWN?

    by GIPA Updated Jul 29, 2014

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    When here in Rio , never ask this!
    The common meaning of the term downtown is unknown here . Moreover , asking this way can set you completely lost , because recently , a big shopping center in the west zone was released , with this name.
    So , asking : where is downtown ? to anyone will head you to the shopping that is located around 40 km from your destination.
    You may ask : -Where is CENTRO? (from central)

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  • MUGGINGS. BOYS ON BIKES

    by DanoM Written Jun 5, 2014

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Here in Rio for business and pleasure just days before the world cup is to begin. Yesterday afternoon while returning home from a leisurely walk by myself (44, male) from Impanema two young boys on peddle bicycles (ages approx 11/12) began circling me with a clear intent of a snatch and grab mugging.

    These two young muggers followed and circled me for over 3 blocks. When I crossed the street they too crossed over and at times up on the sidewalks they peddled their bikes. Be alert people. I let them know I was aware of their actions…and kept moving, fist ready to go. When I could I walked close to the buildings so they couldn't circle me and never ever once did I stop my feet from moving and eratically changed my direction to thwart their attack. At times I could have easily pushed these punks off their bikes...they came that close. When a chance arrived I mixed with a crowd of people and soon made my way into a shop until the muggers, quickly, moved on.

    Be street savvy and alert and you will be alright.

    Related to:
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Gay and Lesbian

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  • BOYS ON BIKES MUGGINGS

    by DanoM Written Jun 5, 2014

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Here in Rio for business and pleasure just days before the world cup is to begin. Yesterday afternoon while returning home from a leisurely walk by myself (44, male) from Impanema two young boys on peddle bicycles (ages approx 11/12) began circling me with a clear intent of a snatch and grab mugging.

    These two young muggers followed and circled me for over 3 blocks. When I crossed the street they too crossed over and at times up on the sidewalks they peddled their bikes. Be alert people. I let them know I was aware of their actions…and kept moving, fist ready to go. When I could I walked close to the buildings so they couldn't circle me and never ever once did I stop my feet from moving and eratically changed my direction to thwart their attack. At times I could have easily pushed these punks off their bikes...they came that close. When a chance arrived I mixed with a crowd of people and soon made my way into a shop until the muggers, quickly, moved on.

    Be street savvy and alert and you will be alright.

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    • Singles
    • Business Travel
    • Hiking and Walking

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  • Impanema snatch-and-grab mugging BOYS ON BIKES

    by DanoM Updated Jun 5, 2014

    Here in Rio for business and pleasure just days before the world cup is to begin. Yesterday afternoon while returning home from a leisurely walk by myself (44, male) from Impanema two young boys on peddle bicycles (ages approx 11/12) began circling me with a clear intent of a snatch and grab mugging.

    These two young muggers followed and circled me for over 3 blocks. When I crossed the street they too crossed over and at times up on the sidewalks they peddled their bikes. Be alert people. I let them know I was aware of their actions…and kept moving, fist ready to go. When I could I walked close to the buildings so they couldn't circle me and never ever once did I stop my feet from moving and eratically changed my direction to thwart their attack. At times I could have easily pushed these punks off their bikes...they came that close. When a chance arrived I mixed with a crowd of people and soon made my way into a shop until the muggers, quickly, moved on.

    Be street savvy and alert and you will be alright.

    Related to:
    • Beaches
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Singles

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  • Crime

    by calimur Written May 21, 2014

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    My husband was in Brazil on a business trip in December. He and his business partner had a day off and stopped along the Anchieta Highway (from my understanding, a major well-travelled toll road) to take a picture. They were robbed at gunpoint. I have read thieves just want your money and possessions, but my husband was shot and killed. This has shattered our life. As a tourist, you often think it can't happen to me. It does happen. Please take these warnings seriously.

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  • Safety in Brazil greatly overemphasized!

    by Andyslam Updated Mar 17, 2014

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    My wife and I spent almost three weeks visiting this beautiful country, and we were in Rio for the first five days for Carnival. Then we flew to Salvador for three days and apparently both cities are notorious for crime inflicted upon the unsuspecting tourists. Our last day was spent in São Paulo and this city of 30 million people has a unwholesome reputation.
    Like everyone else I read extensively about safety in Brazil before I left Canada and both my wife and I were EXTREMELY apprehensive before we arrived. In fact I was almost a bit paranoid, like I believe I was going to be robbed or mugged the second I left my hotel door!
    I am happy to report safety problems in Rio and the other parts of Brazil we visited are COMPLETELY over exaggerated. My wife and I took the buses everywhere, walked around late at night in Ipanema where we stayed, traveled on our own for the whole time in Brazil, and not once did I experience even a hint of discomfort with my surroundings or with any strangers near me. My initial paranoia certainly detracted somewhat from my enjoyment of this wonderful country with its wonderful people. From my perspective my sense of safety with travelling here is similar to my sense of safety when I am in New York City or London, England or Rome, Italy. Just use your common sense and be aware but not nervous or fearful. The average Brazilian would be happy to assist you if you need it! The only problem we had during our trip was that the airport bus driver at Rio ripped us off by charging us double the fare because we didn't speak Portuguese.
    I realize safety was over exaggerated when I noticed a number of young Brazilians in Rio and Salvador walking around with their smartphones in their back pockets. Even I am not this careless back in the wealthy country where I live! The old town of Salvador has a very bad reputation for crime against tourists, and I was so surprised to see how benign this area was. We even had supper smack in the heart of old town and watched a dance performance in the evening there, no issues whatsoever.
    Maybe my wife and I were lucky, but from my perspective if you wish to visit Brazil, forget the dire earnings: just go, be sensible and enjoy yourselves. The media is giving this beautiful country a bad name.

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  • Rio seemed safe to me

    by mike123us Written Mar 1, 2014

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    My wife and I just returned from a trip to Rio. We were there for a few days. Not even once during our time there were we even approached by anyone asking for money. Any crime was not apparent anywhere where we went (all the tourist sights, beaches, restaurants, bars, etc). Im sure you would see more crime if you lived there but as a tourist you should be perfectly fine. A few bums sleeping on the streets right next to expensive hotels, but thats the same as in New York and any other major city. All tourist attractions are well guarded and have heavy entrance fees (for the poor at least) so they wouldn't be able to sneak in there anyway. Taking the official yellow & blue taxis seemed safe enough, especially if you have the hotel or restaurant you're leaving catch one for you. If you ask me, the dangers of Rio (at least for tourists) is greatly exaggerated.

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  • Come if you want, but be prepared.

    by luannea Written Jan 30, 2014

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I live in Rio and I've "only" been robbed five times so far. Once with a gun in my head, when a man took my car at 8pm in Flamengo. The thing is statistics doesn't work on this, you will get lucky or you won't. You should read all the recommendations, don't walk alone late at night and take a cab when you can (better call by phone or in an app). I myself hate the feeling to have to walk around looking everywhere to make sure I'm safe. It's getting worse in 2014, maybe for the worldcup, maybe because Rio is getting more and more expensive. I listen about a robbery case from someone I know at least two times a week. That's pretty high, I think. If you really wanna come, come. But be prepared, like if you'd go to a battle. Hide your belongings, put money on different pockets. Be ready to give everything away, don't react. Robbers here can kill you for a camera. It's hard to expect respect and value of life from people that are never respected by the Government. Health and education here are way below the ideal, meanwhile, the city is expanding for tourists. You can sense the injustice in the air, it may fall on your lap. If I were you, I'd wait one more year to come. Maybe things will be a bit better.

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    • Backpacking
    • Beaches

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  • Avoid Rio if you can

    by AndyR63 Updated Jan 1, 2014

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I have lived in Brazil before during my childhood and teenage years, and returned to this country in January 2013 after having lived in Europe most part of my life. I decided to move back to Brazil after having heard that this country is doing very well now. This is not exactly true, and I regret for having moved back to Brazil. I live in Rio now, but plan to move back to Europe in a couple of years.
    Rio might be an interesting city, but it has a very dark side. Gun crime is very common here, especially in and nearby the shanty towns called "favelas". There are several favelas in Rio, so one will never be too far from one. The local government has installed some temporary police stations in many favelas, in a bid to try to reduce the high number of crimes and criminals originating from them. Many criminals have moved from the favelas to other locations, so the problem has not really been solved. In a country where about 45, 000 people (that is right, the US is nothing compared to this) are being killed each year by guns, I feel never safe out in the streets. The typical dangerous criminal in Brazil is an underaged (below 18 years of age) male that abuse drugs. The completely outdated laws in Brazil are filled with flaws that totally protect the underage criminals, no matter what crime they have committed - and they know that. There have been several cases where the underaged criminal has committed barbaric murders, killing several people, but they are still free walking in the streets. This is something that would never be accepted in Europe or in other parts of the world, but it happens here. The crime rate is on the way up in Brazil, and the government, which includes *too many* corrupted politicians, just do not care about the safety of the people. If the government really cared about it, they would have introduced laws like they have in Singapore, which work extremelly well in that country.
    Another problem with Brazil, and especially in Rio, are the very inefficient services and an incredible bureaucratic system. Everything is slow in Rio. If you are in a supermarket doing some grocery shopping, prepare to stay for a very long time in line/queue to pay for it, even if there are only 3 customers in front of you. If you plan to move to Brazil for work, be prepared for a lot of headache and paperwork. If there is a country that might have invented bureaucracy, then it must be Brazil.
    Before moving to Rio, I thought of it as a great city known for 3 things: The beaches, the women and the food. Honestly, the beaches are too crowded, and a lot of robbery occurs there. Some of the women might be very beautiful too look at, but they are just in minority and not everywhere, contrary to what the media want men around the world to believe in. But the food is something really worth trying in Brazil. Here, you will find many great restaurants to try, and a variety of local dishes. If you like a good steak, go to a typical "churrascaria" restaurant, and you will not be disappointed.
    In short, if you plan to visit Rio, try to avoid the favelas. Do not wear anything expensive (watch, jewelry, camera, etc), have some cash in the pocket when going out on a trip, but try to keep all your credit cards and documents in a safe at the hotel. Just carry your passport with you and eventually a driver's license, but make sure that you have photocopied/scanned them first, and that the copy is in a safe place. If you plan to move to Rio, my advice is: Avoid it. This is not a safe city and it is not a safe country.

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    • Work Abroad
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  • Gotham city in the tropics

    by hakobama Written Dec 1, 2013

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Rio is now worse than ever! I lived in Rio (Barra da Tijuca) for more than 20 years, in the 80´s and 90´s. I just returned (Oct 2013) from a month visit to see my son who lives there. Crime is everywhere, it doesn´t matter if you are in Ipanema, downtown, or even Barra, you are still very likely to get mugged (at the very least) if you take a public bus. If you are going to the airport, you must pass through some of the worst ghetto areas, where there are frequently shoot outs and innocent people get shot, even in their cars on the freeway.
    I heard so many awful stories from local cariocas (natives of Rio) about how bad the crime had become again that I did not want to leave my son´s apt. Everyone who can afford it now drives in a BULLET PROOF CAR....and people say Rio is not dangerous??? Those people who wrote on this post that they did not have any problems were incredibly lucky. Rio is chaos at its worst! You are not safe there, anywhere in Rio. The world cup is now an excuse for everything, and trust me, the criminals will be out in force during the world cup. Avoid going to Rio, there are so many other, more beautiful, safer, and cheaper, places in the world. (I live in Spain, thank God).

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  • Rio is great but very dangerous

    by TomRaven Written Apr 3, 2013

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I just read the news report of the American woman pulled off a bus in Rio last week when with her boyfriend. He was clubbed senseless and she was raped for six hours by three hoodlums. Rio is a great city but if they don't make major changes before the Olympics, I would avoid the place. No way would I subject myself to that sort of exposure. Especially if you are over sixty. Then you have a bullseye on your back. TomRaven

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  • Rio done (un)justice!

    by cherrymagic Updated Jan 24, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I just come back from spending 9 days family holiday in Rio, the suitcases still unpacked. Specifically wanted to give comment under warnings and dangers as I feel strongly Rio is still given this very bad crime sticker, which is very much unfair, specially lately!
    In preparation for the holiday we of course consulted as much as poss the internet and other resources, and found many warnings on Rio and violence and crime. Well, I just wanted to stress that in nine days (and nights!) none of it happened to us! Under the impressions of the comments on this page too, we prepared ourselves for robberies in the streets, armed attacks and all sorts. By the time we finished reading the comments we wandered why the hell we planned to go to Rio?!
    Of all that, we just felt that the city centre is a bit dreary after 18.00 and on weekends and there was this character shouting to us, wanting to "tell us something", but could not catch up with us, that is all! We did purposely avoid favellas, of which a number has been pacified in the last few years. We just did not want to add to the pockets of those who rule in favelas, and why should someones hard life be interesting to pay for to see it?!
    The truth is, you do not go to Rio to have a perfect holiday, you go there to have a different holiday and possibly the holiday of a lifetime! Do not expect to be spoiled rotten by anyone, make your own holiday work for you and be prepared that the apartment you actually rented does not have all amenities promised on the web, that the roof pool will not be available for the repairs and that kind of thing. But, are you going there for the latest owen built in, and to swim in the roof pool, or to enjoy a town which is just overwhelming?!
    Today, we wish we left more time for Rio on our South America trip (since we also visited Buenos Aires and Montevideo). That is why we know we need to be back there, there is so much more to see and enjoy! The truth is RIO IS JUST GREAT! The safety is probably much improved in the light of the World Cup next year and actually much of the life happens around Ipanema and Copacabana, day and night, contrary to what we read in comments! Both beaches are just indescribably gorgeous, can't tell when more - by the day, for swimming, sunbathing and enjoying your cairpinha, or at night when they are both lit up with tens of reflectors and thousands of people enjoying the walk, biking, playing handball in the sand, whatever, singing, dancing, spontaneous parties, something for everyone. Can not paint the picture realistic enough, you just have to go there and experience it!
    General rules of precautions apply, of course, but that is the case with any large city in the world! I read just the other day that Sienna Miller got her handbag snatched while sitting in the car, broad light, in Paris!
    If you want to really measure the percentage of truthfulness on these comments on Rio, just go check what the same warnings and dangers say about your own town, specially if you come from a big one! I just did and am sorry have not done it before our trip to amazing Rio de Janeiro!
    Rio, we love you and will be coming back for sure!

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  • Rio done unjustice!

    by cherrymagic Written Jan 24, 2013

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I just come back from spending 9 days family holiday in Rio, the suitcases still unpacked. Specifically wanted to give comment under warnings and dangers as I feel strongly Rio is still given this very bad crime sticker, which is very much unfair, specially lately!
    In preparation for the holiday we of course consulted as much as poss the internet and other resources, and found many warnings on Rio and violence and crime. Well, I just wanted to stress that in nine days (and nights!) none of it happened to us! Under the impressions of the comments on this page too, we prepared ourselves for robberies in the streets, armed attacks and all sorts. By the time we finished reading the comments we wandered why the hell we planned to go to Rio?!
    Of all that, we just felt that the city centre is a bit dreary after 18.00 and on weekends and there was this character shouting to us, wanting to "tell us something", but could not catch up with us, that is all! We did purposely avoid favellas, of which a number has been pacified in the last few years. We just did not want to add to the pockets of those who rule in favelas, and why should someones hard life be interesting to pay for to see it?!
    The truth is, you do not go to Rio to have a perfect holiday, you go there to have a different holiday and possibly the holiday of a lifetime! Do not expect to be spoiled rotten by anyone, make your own holiday work for you and be prepared that the apartment you actually rented does not have all amenities promised on the web, that the roof pool will not be available for the repairs and that kind of thing. But, are you going there for the latest owen built in, and to swim in the roof pool, or to enjoy a town which is just overwhelming?!
    Today, we wish we left more time for Rio on our South America trip (since we also visited Buenos Aires and Montevideo). That is why we know we need to be back there, there is so much more to see and enjoy! The truth is RIO IS JUST GREAT! The safety is probably much improved in the light of the World Cup next year and actually much of the life happens around Ipanema and Copacabana, day and night, contrary to what we read in comments! Both beaches are just indescribably gorgeous, can't tell when - by the more day, for swimming, sunbathing and enjoying your cairpinha, or at night when they are both lit up with tens of reflectors and thousands of people enjoying the walk, biking, playing handball in the sand, whatever, singing, dancing, spontaneous parties, something for everyone. Can not paint the picture realistic enough, you just have to go there and experience it!
    General rules of precautions apply, of course, but that is the case with any large city in the world! I read just the other day that Sienna Miller got her handbag snatched while sitting in the car, broad light, in Paris!
    If you want to really measure the percentage of truthfulness on these comments on Rio, just go to check what the same warnings and dangers say about your own town, specially if you come from a big one! I just did and am sorry have not done it before our trip to amazing Rio de Janeiro!
    Rio, we love you and will be comming back for sure!

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  • Safety in Rio

    by sgsmozart Written Nov 29, 2012

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I have been to Rio nine times and II have never had one single problem. The answer? Come as an educated prepared tourist. Read "the Rough Guide to Rio" or "Lonely Planet Guide" and learn how to navigate the city. I ride city busses, take the subway (completely safe all time of the day or night) walk in non-tourist neighborhoods, and take the local yellow taxis. Learn a few words of Portuguese. Brazilians are incredibly friendly and helpful people, some of the nicest in the world. Don't believe all the horror stories you read on the internet. These are dumb Americans who have done no preparation before they travel.

    Rio has one of the most spectacular geographic settings in the world. Use common sense and you will have one of the most marvelous vacations ever. BTW, many improvements in homelessness and security have occurred over the last two years in preparation for the Olympic Games.

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    • Beaches
    • Budget Travel

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Comments (3)

  • Jul 5, 2014 at 7:36 AM

    Yesterday i went to copacabana beach to see the world cup match at the fifa fan fest but my windows tablet pc was stolen from my bag. I rushed to the local police but they seemed ignorant and did not even took my written complaint saying that they are too busy. All my pictures, videos and important soft documents were in that tab. I have had enough in Brazil. I am going back earlier and wil advice others not to come to brazil.

    • May 20, 2015 at 8:46 PM

      Why would you bring a tablet to FIFA FAN FEST anyways?

    • May 21, 2015 at 11:01 AM

      Of course to take some pictures and videos. Thank God you did not ask why would I go to FIFA FAN FEST anyways? I should ask why FIFA had selected Brazil to organize such a big event where spectators can not even carry a tablet leave alone money and jewelry.

  • Oct 1, 2013 at 12:58 AM

    Im currently in Rio on holiday, two attempts to grab my back pack in Copacabana in one day, held at knife point after walking out of a cash machine, cutting my trip short and getting the hell out of here!! Good luck to all visiting next years world cup, you WILL get exploited!!

  • Mar 11, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    I am a 44 year old female experienced traveler who has traveled to many 'dangerous cities' I was passing by Copacabana beach today at 2pm and decided to take out my $100 digital camera to take a picture of the beach. 2 men came up one tried to take my camera and the other held a knife at my throat. I screamed which attracted the attention of a cyclist. There was no harm done, I am actually here working and this incident will not limit my ability to do my job. What I will say is the wisdom of 'just hand everything over' is good advice but when confronted with a knife I thought...I am looking at a knife, why am I looking at a knife. You see and think of nothing else but the knife in this situation. I have seen a lot of defence of Rio on the various forums, what I will say is this: Rio is a fabulous city but my advice is not to take anything for granted....I think of crime as being the of the pick pocket variety, i.e if you don't watch your camera or your wallet you might lose it. having a weapon involved is another matter. I also asked the tourist police how many knife incidents there are around Copacabana beach on a daily basis and the answer is 5 or 6 that are reported, I think that is pretty high.

    • Mar 11, 2015 at 2:43 PM

      Just got robbed middle to the day at aprox 1530 while walking past flamingo beach by 6-7 young boys. Luckily just got hurt in neck only while they snatched the chain. Thought they had all the aggression and intention of hurting me luckily the whole thing did not go further. Since they had the chain and i resisted further they took off. Am shocked and still coming to terms but equally happy that am not seriously hurt. I had the feeling that there were others around who were somehow part of the crime anyway no one really seem to be interested as to what was happenng though quite a few people were around. I travel quite a bit from asia to africa and its the first time that i have experienced an attack during the day at populated area. Hence can only advice that even during the day travel in a tourist group or take taxi, bus or undergroung if you plan to go from one area to other. Do not try to explore the differnt areas of the city on foot!

    • Apr 5, 2015 at 12:24 PM

      I'm about to go to rio in 2 days and reading up on all these stuff is very interesting... i think it would help people like me more if people stated their age and ethnic origin AND how you dress.
      A lot of these incidences tend to be on men on business trips (must be how you dressed, looking like you had a lot of money) or women OR some one with a camera or ipad.

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