Latest Crime Reports: Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro is the second largest city in Brazil and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Needless to say, the upcoming Summer Olympic Games has drawn some serious attention to Rio’s current situation. A review of the latest news from Rio, reports on crime, take precedence.

By NADIA SUSSMAN | Nov. 10, 2015 | 8:23

Muggings (purse-snatchings) and gun crimes are among the most common crimes in Rio. Needless to say, travelers are particularly at risk of being attacked by robbers especially during the evening and at night in areas close to the major attractions in the city. For example, quite a few incidents have already occurred along the trails that lead to the gigantic statue of Christ the Redeemer which is located on top of the Corocovado Mountain and the Tijuca Forest which is located below the Mountain. Both are highly travelled by visitors and tourists. Warning: In such a situation, travelers are advised not to fight back and/or resist but to surrender their belongings in order to stay safe. But what is most advisable as suggested in our Travel Do’s and Dont’s article, is to travel in groups, leave most of your money and your valuables at home or at the hotel and remain focused at ALL times while you are in public places.
The good news is that the city’s homicide rate has reportedly decreased by almost 50% from 2005 – 2012. Rio’s rapidly expanding Police Force has worked hard to drastically reduce the city’s murder rate by introducing an innovative crime fighting strategy about 6 years go. This new approach, which is considerably different in comparison to the shock-troop approach which prevailed for many years, has proven to be highly effective.
Nevertheless, travelers are continuously being issued warnings to ensure their safety. The favelas of Rio de Janeiro are a source of curiosity for travellers from developed countries. In 2008, a favela pacification program was instituted in certain favelas such as those in the Zona Sul. Why? Because many favelas in Rio exist beyond the limits of the police and other city officials. So what does it really mean to say some favelas are considered ‘pacified?’ According to Wikipedia, the Pacifying Police Unit (Portuguese: Unidade de Polícia Pacificadora, also translated as Police Pacification Unit), abbreviated UPP, is a law enforcement and social services program pioneered in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which aims at reclaiming territories, more commonly favelas, controlled by gangs of drug dealers. So travelers can visit at their own risk, but visitors are therefore encouraged to steer clear of favelas that are not pacified by the Government and to exercise extreme caution when visiting pacified favelas.
Some local companies in Rio offer hostel facilities, and room rentals in various favelas, and even offer favela jeep tours to allow tourists an opportunity to explore the areas. However, be aware that even in the pacified favelas, police protection may be limited, especially at night. According to local news reports, there has been violence related problems in pacified favelas such as Rocinha and Complexo de Alemao. If you choose to tour or to stay in a favela, neither the city police nor the tour company will be able to guarantee your safety.
Currently, in preparation for the 2016 Olympics, the Government of Brazil is working hard at cleaning up the favelas of Rio before the games start and the visitors start pouring in. The State Government of Rio issued a statement on the 3rd of April, 2015, about a possible military occupation of the Complexo do Alemao favela in an attempt to reduce crimes. However, there has been some controversy surrounding how this move could pose a threat to the lives of innocent residents and their daily lifestyle.
All in all, travellers are once again, recommended to exercise extreme caution when it comes to going out at night in Brazil. There have even been reports of carjacking incidents on Linha Vermelha, the road that links Rio’s southern zone, to the airport. Therefore, motorists are not exempt from exercising caution at night as well. For the moment, public transportation is also quite risky and one of the the best ways of getting around is the yellow taxis on which the company information, red license plates and phone numbers are openly displayed. When it comes to choosing accommodations, it is best to look for reputable establishments that are located in safe areas and provides adequate safety measures to protect you, your family and your belongings. Rio de Janeiro is a place for the street savvy and quick thinker. If you intend to explore the city’s many beautiful attractions and you desire to stay safe, be careful and alert at all times.

Neymar not taxed by poor form …

By Tom Sweetman and Amanda Davies, for CNN
May 1, 2014 — Updated 1153 GMT (1953 HKT)

(CNN) — He came from Brazil to leading Spanish club Barcelona in a mega-bucks transfer touted as the new Lionel Messi.
A series of niggling injuries this season put paid to any hope of Neymar living up to those high expectations, while the tax issues surrounding his complicated transfer from Santos cast a shadow over his new career in Europe.

But the Brazilian, who has managed just nine league goals for Barcelona since touching down in Catalonia, is quick to rule out any correlation — as some have done — between those off-field issues and his form in a “Blaugrana” shirt this season.

Which will be a relief to Brazil given how important Neymar is to their team and its hopes of winning the World Cup on home soil.

“No, I don’t think [it has affected my performances]. I’m used to leaving all those problems aside, I’m very relaxed when it comes to that,” said Neymar, who was talking to CNN at a Castrol Footkhana event.

“It’s unpleasant when everyone is talking about things that are not true, but on the pitch it doesn’t get in the way.”

True or not Neymar’s club is being investigated over tax fraud regarding the transfer — which Barcelona was forced to confirm actually totaled 86.2 million euros rather than the 57.1 million euros first announced — while Sandro Rosell had to step down from his role as president as controversy over the deal intensified.

Neymar’s former club Santos, meanwhile, is unhappy with how the transfer fee was divided up — with a large chunk having been paid to a company controlled by the player’s father, Neymar Snr — and has been seeking a bigger cut than the 17.1 million euros it originally received. 

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Federal Police Threaten Strike During World Cup

Federal police officers across the nation want better working conditions, higher wages and clear functions.   By Maria Lopez Conde on April 15, 2014

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL – Federal police in Brazil staged a protest on Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana beach on Sunday, April 13th, calling for better working conditions, higher wages and restructuring of their career paths. The group vows to strike during this year’s FIFA World Cup tournament, which will be held in twelve cities across the county, and runs from June 12th to July 13th.

Federal police strike in Brazil , Rio de Janeiro, Brazil NewsFederal police in Brazil threaten a strike during the World Cup
photo by Tomaz Silva/Agência Brasil.

Close to two hundred agents, registrars and fingerprint specialists from the professional services of the federal police marched on Rio’s Avenida Atlântica to contest, what they deem, a “failed” public safety system on Copacabana on Sunday.

André Vaz de Mello, the president of the Union of Servers of the Federal Police Department of the State of Rio de Janeiro, said, “We will wait until the World Cup, but we stand with Brasília’s and the other states’ proposal: stop [working] during the World Cup, mainly at airports,” according to Agência Brasil.

Besides investigating crimes against the federal government, the federal police play a key role in airport and border control services. They are in charge of issuing Brazilians’ passports and conducting border control enforcement at frontiers and airports across the country.

A federal police strike during the World Cup, when half a million visitors are expected to arrive in Brazil, could create bottlenecks and delays at airports. “At the airport, it’s complicated because only federal police know how to do border control service work, so no one will replace us easily.”

“Unless [the government] opens the gates and lets in terrorists, fugitives of law and all. It’s the government’s call, if it wants to maintain safety during the World Cup or open the gates,” threatened Vaz de Mello, as reported by online portal G1.

Vaz de Mello explained to Agência Brasil that the the federal police’s protest in Copacabana on Monday was meant to spotlight the federal police’s precarious working conditions. He threatened a strike if the federal police’s demands are not met before the international tournament, while promising to maintain “essential” services.

Deemed the “March of the Elephants” after the five oversize white inflatable elephants the police officers carried on the streets, the demonstration aimed to raise awareness of the inefficiencies of the police’s current model.

“The white elephant is the inefficiency of our current public safety model, in which 96 percent of cases do not go anywhere, and only two percent truly punish those guilty for them. This [model] does not exist anywhere else,” Vaz de Mello said.

In 2009, a delegate from the Rio Grande do Sul state police estimated that around eighty percent of the cases brought to the federal police are not solved. This is partly due to the fact that the number of federal police investigations has risen by 2,000 percent in the last twenty years, according to data from Brazil’s Court of Auditors. In 2003, the federal police opened 50,220 investigations and two years later, in 2005, there were 66,492 cases.

“We ask for a restructuring of the career, with the attributions of roles such as fingerprint specialist, agent and registrar defined by law, because there is not that at the moment and at the very least, an inflationary readjustment [of salaries] so we can sit and talk,” Vaz de Mello said. According to him, federal police officers have not received a pay raise in seven years.

In November 2013, the professional categories of the federal police, defined as those that serve as registrars and fingerprint specialists, staged strikes and protests to demand better salaries. Federal police delegates receive salaries that range from R$16,000 to R$22,000 per month, while those serving as professionals in the federal police, make R$7,000 to R$11,800 per month.

Brazil: Rio de Janeiro Asks for Help to Fight Crime

Crime in Rio

Crime in Rio

Brazil will send federal troops to Rio de Janeiro to help quell a surge in violent crime after attacks by drug traffickers on police posts in three slums on the north side of the city, government officials said Friday. Less than three months before Rio welcomes tens of thousands of foreign soccer fans for the World Cup, the attacks cast new doubts on government efforts to expel gangs from slums using a strong police presence. The city will also host the Olympics in 2016. On Friday, the governor of Rio de Janeiro State, Sérgio Cabral, asked President Dilma Rousseff for federal troops to help stop the attacks on police units overseeing slums across Rio de Janeiro. Shooting erupted on Thursday between drug traffickers and the police near the Manguinhos complex of shantytowns. Three police officers were wounded, the local news media reported, and the attackers set fire to a police post and knocked down power lines.

Taken from Reuters – March 21, 2014

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