Executive Summary: Security and Safety for Visitors in Brazil

https://www.imgsecurity.net/wp-content/Brazil World CupThe 2014 World Cup in Brazil will be hosted in 12 cities across the country from 12 June 2014 to 15 July 2014. These World Cup matches will present a host of security challenges to a country that has no shortage of security issues. Indeed, many American and European visitors will find that Brazil has a number of safety and travel security concerns.

According to an article released by Business Insider, 15 of the 50 most dangerous cities in the world are in Brazil. This includes the World Cup host cities of Brasilia, Belo Horizonte, Recife, Cuiaba, Manaus, Fortaleza, Salvador, and Curitiba. To put this in perspective, Brazil’s most dangerous city, Manaus, has a homicide rate 25% higher than New Orleans. In fact, Brazil’s murder rate is 4 times higher than the US average.

However, crime is not the only safety concern for visitors to Brazil. There have been frequent demonstrations across the country in the run up to the 2014 World Cup. In a country with high poverty, many demonstrators are protesting the billions spent on preparations for the Cup. Meanwhile, other groups of varying stripes are taking advantage of the worldwide attention to host demonstrations. In some cases, police have had to break up these protests, using tear gas and riot squads.

While Brazil has multiple travel security concerns, there are other issues visitors may face. For instance, the hosting cities seem to be experiencing a shortage of hotel rooms and there are reports of fake ticket sellers and other scams that prey on visitors. Furthermore, there are some lingering concerns that the stadiums may not be fully completed by the start of the games. Despite these issues, there are precautions that travelers can take to keep themselves safe.

Travel Security and Safety Tips for World Cup Visitors

Prior to departure, visitors to Brazil should ensure that they are up to date on all their vaccines. In most cases, travelers should be vaccinated against Hepatitis A and Typhoid. Malaria is also present in the country, including the host cities of Manaus and Cuiaba. For their safety, individuals traveling to these cities should talk to their medical professional about malaria medication. Additionally, visitors traveling to Brasilia, Belo Horizonte, Manaus, and Cuiaba should consider getting vaccinated against yellow fever.

Crime is probably the number one travel security concern for those visiting Brazil. Muggings, pickpocketing, and ATM robbery are all potential threats to visitors. To keep themselves safe, travelers should avoid wearing expensive clothing or displaying valuables, like smartphones, in public. While visitors need to be watchful at all times, they should be especially mindful around tourist areas. Pickpockets tend to be most active around the beaches, bars, nightclubs, public transit, and the World Cup stadiums.

Robberies and muggings also occur in Brazil. In fact, sometimes criminals engage in “quicknapping,” the temporary kidnapping of an individual. In this crime, the criminal detains an individual for a short period of time, forcing them to withdraw money from ATM machines until the withdrawal limit is reached.

Visitors should also use caution on and around Brazil’s roads. Many Brazilian drivers can be quite aggressive, posing a danger to pedestrians and motorists unfamiliar with the driving customs of the country. While Brazilians themselves frequently use unlicensed travel vans, visitors should stick to licensed taxi services, as these are safer and more reliable.

Visitors should be especially aware of Brazilian favelas. Favelas are urban slums that lie on the periphery of many of the country’s large cities. Favelas are largely lawless and are sometimes controlled by local militias and drug gangs. Some favelas are so dangerous that the police even fear traveling there. Visitors should know that these areas are highly dangerous and should avoid these areas at all times. Similar to the favelas, the satellite cities that surround the city of Brasilia should also be avoided by visitors for many of the same reasons.

If US travelers become victims of crime, fall ill, or encounter other difficulties they should reach out to the nearest American Embassy or Consulate. The contact information for these facilities can be found here:


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Incident Management Group, Inc. is a leading international travel security firm. Corporate or business organizations concerned about their need for detailed travel security planning can reach out to the IMG for assistance. The company’s expert security consultants provide services such as executive, employee, VIP, expatriate travel security, executive protection, risk and threat assessments, workplace violence prevention, crisis management planning, and more.

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