Criminal gangs are increasingly using explosives when robbing banks in major urban areas across Brazil. On Thursday, November 1, a group of armed men targeted three banks in Vargem Grande Paulista (located in the greater São Paulo area), using explosives and heavy weapons. The banks were located along Avenida Elias Alves da Costa and the buildings suffered damage as criminals attempted to break into automated teller machines (ATMs) with explosives. Police officers responding to the incident exchanged gunfire with the robbers, who eventually escaped after setting five cars on fire. Criminals also used explosives while breaking into an ATM outside a bank in the Maracanã area of Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday, October 31. No casualties were reported in either incident. Further robberies involving similar tactics are expected in the near term.
According to media reports, at least 17 ATMs have been targeted by criminals in São Paulo and its metropolitan area in 2018.
Due to high crime rates throughout Brazil, individuals should remain vigilant at all times, report any suspicious behavior to relevant authorities, use ATMs located inside banks or other secure locations whenever possible, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities. Conceal conspicuous signs of wealth to avoid attracting the attention of would-be thieves and never enter favelas (slum neighborhoods). Note that criminals are often armed (never offer resistance in the event of a mugging).
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