Last month on a traffic-clogged road in Rio de Janeiro, a TV camera flickered to life. In its frame was a squat Brazilian woman wearing a necklace and a flower-pattern blouse. She and the interviewer discussed the increasing numbers of robberies, deteriorating security and inadequate police protection. Then, in the middle of the interview, a slight man materialized in the frame, ripped off her necklace and bolted into traffic as the woman wailed.
Her interviewer chased the robber, yelling at him to come back.
According to Brazil’s police, which are trying to prepare for next month’s World Cup amid a soaring crime rate, the broadcaster did the wrong thing. He shouldn’t have chased the thief.
Not in a country like Brazil. Not in a city like Rio.
Rather than ignore the many problems plaguing the country’s preparations for its games – drought, murder, striking police, ballooning costs, mismanagement and Dengue fever – police are inching toward resignation. They know Rio de Janeiro state, which saw more than 4,000 murders in 2012, is pretty dangerous. And the 600,000 tourists who are expected to descend upon Rio should know it, too.
So Rio police have compiled a list of tips on navigating the city’s violence, including asking tourists to refrain from screaming if someone robs them.
“Do not react, scream or argue,” says the brochure, which will be disseminated at Brazilian embassies and other consulates, according to the BBC. Police warn tourists against flaunting valuables to check and make sure no one’s following them. Mario Leite, the director of World Cup security in Sao Paulo says “tourists come mainly from Europe and the United States, where they do not see this crime very often. … There is no use crying over spilt milk.”