At least three gunmen robbed more than 30 tourists near the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday, January 3. The criminals reportedly staged ambushes along a trail leading to the statue, took several people hostage, and held them for more than two hours. Authorities stated the suspects took personal belongings but did not injure the hostages. A heightened security presence can be expected near tourist sites in Rio de Janeiro and other major cities in the coming days and weeks.
Crime rates in Rio de Janeiro state, rising steadily since 2016, reached all-time highs in 2017, and again in 2018. The violence is largely attributed to fighting between heavily armed security forces and criminal gangs in favelas. Federal forces have been in command of security in the state of Rio de Janeiro since February 2018. According to one study, violent deaths have increased by 80 percent since the beginning of the military intervention. Recently elected President Jair Bolsonaro has pledged to implement a new anti-crime policy nationwide, which includes expanding private gun ownership and the use of lethal force to police.
Due to high crime rates in Rio de Janeiro - and throughout Brazil more generally - individuals should remain vigilant at all times, report any suspicious behavior to relevant authorities, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities. Conceal conspicuous signs of wealth to avoid attracting the attention of would-be thieves. Note that criminals are often armed and never offer resistance in the event of a mugging.
Copyright and Disclaimer