Brazil Country Travel AdvisoryJune 10, 2014 in 2014 FIFA World Cup - Security Update
Brazil – No travel restrictions
While there are currently no travel restrictions for Brazil, MS Risk advises all travellers to exercise a high degree of caution throughout the country. This is due to high crime rates and regular incidents of gang-related and other violence.
2014 World Cup
The 2014 FIFA World Cup will be held in Brazil from June 12 to July 13, 2014. Games will be played in a number of major cities across the country, including Brasília, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. If you are planning on travelling to Brazil during this period, MS Risk advises that you make your travel arrangements, including accommodation, transportation and purchase of sporting event tickets, well in advance using only genuine and reliable sources. You should note that English or French may not be readily available in Brazil.
Crimes, such as thefts, are known to increase around major sporting events in Brazil, with tourists often being the targets. MS Risk therefore advises all travellers to exercise extreme caution and to remain aware of your surroundings at all times. We advise that you use ATM’s in well-lit public areas or inside banks and avoid using them during the evening and night.
Over the past several weeks, demonstrations have occurred throughout Brazil. Further demonstrations leading up to, during and after the World Cup, may take place and may turn violent with minimal or no notice. MS Risk advises all travellers to avoid demonstrations, monitor the local developments and follow the advice of local authorities.
- Fire Department: Dial 193
- Police: Dial 190
- Ambulance Services: Dial 192
In São Paulo, dial (11) 3120-4447 or (11) 3151-4167 to reach the tourist police. In Rio de Janeiro, dial (21) 2332-2924, (21) 2332-2511 or (21) 2332-5112 to reach the tourist police.
In the event of an emergency or an accident with injuries, dial 193 anywhere in Brazil. In the case of an accident without injuries, contact the military police at 190.
Risk Rating: Low – Medium Risk
Political and labour strikes and demonstrations are common throughout Brazil and could lead to violent incidents. During protests, roadblocks are sometimes used. MS Risk advises travellers to avoid large gatherings and keep informed of future demonstrations by monitoring local news reports.
Since 10 June 2013, demonstrations have been taking place throughout Brazil to protest against corruption and an increase in costs to basic services. Such demonstrations can occur anywhere and at any time. In São Paulo, protests can cause delays along the main road that leads to Guarulhos International Airport. Expect traffic and public transportation disruptions.
Risk Rating: High Risk
Crime levels throughout Brazil are high, including in most urban centres such as Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Brasília, Recife and Salvador. However violence and crime can occur anywhere and often involve firearms or other weapons. In the past, victims have either been seriously injured or killed when resisting perpetrators. MS Risk advises all travellers to remain vigilant, particularly before and during the festive and carnival periods.
Robberies involving tourists occur regularly, even during daylight hours, and can sometimes be violent. MS Risk advises travellers to avoid isolated areas and unsupervised beaches with poor visibility from the sidewalk. We also advise that you ensure your hotel or living accommodation is completely secure.
Street crime, including pickpocketing, mugging and purse snatching, is common throughout Brazil, especially during public festivities such as the annual Carnival. Tourists are particularly targeted. MS Risk advises travellers to avoid wearing expensive jewellery, watches and clothing. Do not carry large amounts of money. Keep mobile phones and cameras out of sight and leave your passport and valuables in a safe place. It is recommended that you carry another form of photo ID, such as a driving license, with you at all times. If threatened, MS Risk advises that you be ready to hand over all valuables and that you do not attempt to resist attackers as they may be armed or under the influence of drugs.
There has been an increase in robberies at ATM’s. Some ATM’s have been fitted with anti theft devices, which apply pink coloured ink to the notes of an ATM that has been damaged or tampered with. Travellers should be aware that any pink coloured note will not be accepted in the market and automatically loses its value. If you withdraw cash at an ATM and it has any sort of pink marks, you are advised to speak to the bank straight away in order to get the note changed. If this occurs outside of bank hours, or not in a bank branch, you should get a bank statement from the ATM showing the withdrawal and take it with the marked note to a police station in order to attain a police report.
Bank and credit card fraud is common in Brazil, including card cloning from ATM’s. MS Risk advises all travellers to keep sight of your card at all times and to not use an ATM if you notice anything suspicious.
Mobile phone cloning also occurs in Brazil. You are advised to take care of your handset at all times.
Kidnappings and carjacking’s occur throughout the country, particularly in larger cities. In past incidents, victims were usually picked up from the street and forced to withdraw funds from ATM’s. MS Risk therefore advises travellers to remain cautious with new acquaintances who offer friendship, hospitality or assistance.
Theft from cars is common and there have been cases of carjackings. When approaching your car, have the keys ready in order to make it easier to get into the car. When driving, keep the doors locked and windows closed and take particular care when stopping at a traffic light. In three or more lanes of traffic, consider using the middle lanes. Avoid deserted or poorly lit places. MS Risk advises all travellers to be aware of people approaching to ask for information, especially at night. The threat of personal attack is lower outside cities, however incidents can occur even at holiday destinations that appear to be relatively secure.
While rape and other sexual offences against tourists are rare, there have been attacks against both men and women, with some involving ‘date rape’ drugs. MS Risk advises travellers to purchase your own drinks and to keep them within sight at all times.
While police officials in Brazil have carried out crackdowns on crime throughout the country, this has led to retaliation attacks that have been carried out by criminal gangs. As a result, there is an increased chance of violence across the entire country, including in major cities. MS Risk advises travellers to remain vigilant at all times and to comply with security directives that have been imposed by local authorities.
Incidents of gang-related violence continue to pose a threat in large urban centres, where there is often a visible disparity in the levels of wealth. In the past, targets of gang-related violence have included police stations, buses, official buildings and businesses. Most tourist hubs and destinations have also been targeted. In urban centres, particularly in or near favelas, violent incidents and armed clashes have occurred between police forces and alleged criminals on a regular occurrence.
While additional security forces have been deployed throughout the country, future gang-related violence is likely to occur and could involve the use of weapons, including firearms, which are increasingly easy to obtain. MS Risk advises all travellers to exercise a high degree of caution at all time and to avoid travelling alone, especially at night.
Drug trafficking is widespread in Brazil. If you are caught trafficking, the penalties are severe and often involve long prison sentences in a Brazilian prison. The penalties for possession of drugs for personal use range from educational classes to community service.
Brazil has one of the highest road accident rates in the world. This is due to aggressive driving habits, a significant number of trucks on the road, reckless passing, excessive speeds, poorly marked lanes, construction, vehicles moving in the wrong direction on one-way streets, and poorly maintained roads.
MS Risk advises all travellers to avoid driving after dark and to keep doors locked and windows closed at all times. We also advise that you be careful when stopping on the side of any highway, both for traffic and for the potential of being a victim of crime.
When driving in large cities, MS Risk advises travellers to pay attention to your surroundings while waiting at traffic lights. It is common for motorists to treat red lights as stop signs between the hours of 10 PM and 6 PM in order to protectagainst hold-ups at intersections. Most cities will have a flashing yellow light, which indicates that drivers only need to yield.
Theft on buses and trams is common, especially at night. Violent incidents frequently occur in unofficial taxis, which are often present at airports. Registered taxis are clearly identified however they may look different in each city. To be safe, MS Risk advises that you purchase tickets from taxi offices at the airport’s arrival hall. In town, we advise that you use taxis from taxi stands only. Only use taxis to travel to and from airports. Local law requires the use of the taxi meter in order to determine the legal fare. Adding surcharges to a fare is illegal. Should taxi rates change, and their meters have not been adjusted, drivers may indicate these changes by showing you an authorized paper with the new rates. At night, it is safer to order a taxi by telephone then to stand on a street.