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Visiting Brazil - are we crazy? Brazil has changed!

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11 hours ago, BenjaminNicholas said:

Side note: I also realize that at nearly 6'4" and 210 lbs, I'm the guy walking down the street that most people aren't going to choose to fuck with.

I believe, based on what I have read here, that the prolific poster @tomcal is just as tall as, if not taller than you. He’s also a very frequent traveler to Brazil. He was recently a victim of a group mugging. By gunpoint. In tony, upscale Ipanema in Rio. The others in that group that were also mugged were younger Brazilian men.

 

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11 minutes ago, SolaceSoul said:

I believe, based on what I have read here, that the prolific poster @tomcal is just as tall as, if not taller than you. He’s also a very frequent traveler to Brazil. He was recently a victim of a group mugging. By gunpoint. In tony, upscale Ipanema in Rio. The others in that group that were also mugged were younger Brazilian men.

 

Words of wisdom - 

Connecting the dots - 

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17 hours ago, BenjaminNicholas said:

I also realize that at nearly 6'4" and 210 lbs, I'm the guy walking down the street that most people aren't going to choose to fuck with.

That's basically the attitude I've maintained throughout my years of travel, using this reasoning as a way to explain why I haven't endured more trouble. I have been robbed more than once. Those experiences have a way of changing you forever.

Even when I wear casual clothing, strangers tend to assume I have a lot of money or wear expensive jewelry. Because I have been robbed, I rarely wear a watch in public. I can make an attempt to dress down, but that doesn't change my body language or the basic way I stand out in a crowd.

Normally, I'm risk averse, unless you're inviting me to sky dive. I don't enjoy the feeling of being "on guard." Being a New Yorker for decades, like Oz mentions, I tend to be on guard by default. But when I visit places that are specifically known for high crime, my on guard feeling intensifies, and that's the feeling I don't enjoy.

In the last ten years or so, I decided to end travel to places where I don't feel safe. Now that Trump is president, I'm very glad I made that decision. In certain places, Americans can be easy targets.

If I receive a travel warning from a reliable source, I appreciate the warning and I heed the advice.

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I was one week in Rio in December and did not feel particular danger. I mistakenly booked Hotel Atlantico PRIME (good hotel btw, no problem to take GP)  instead of Atlantico COPACABANA on Booking.com. So I had to walk 1,5km from hotel to 117 every night back and forth (around 20mn walk) and it was OK. Sometimes I would take the metro at Gloria to go to Point 202. It was also OK. Another day I walked to Cinelandia, till the theatre and back and it was OK too.

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On 2/6/2019 at 8:51 PM, mvan1 said:

I just received an e-mail from the American Citizens Services Office U.S. Consulate in Brazil - State Department. 

I have never had dealings with that agency.  The e-mail arrived in my mail box unsolicited. 

I read through the e-mail.  The e-mail discusses the rampant crime throughout Brazil and what Americans should do if they become a target of a criminal. 

The e-mail discusses certain places to avoid which I never thought to be dangerous.  For example, ordinary places in Sao Paulo and Rio I visit frequently are on the list to avoid. 

The e-mail also discusses robberies between the airport and town during heavy traffic when cars are not moving fast.  Robbers jump out of their car and point a gun at a traveler and demand money and property.  You name it, the criminals have already thought of it.  

One thing stressed in the e-mail is to not resist if you become a victim of a robbery.  

I copied phone numbers from the e-mail in case anyone might need to contact the police.  

The phone number for most Americans or English speaking tourists is -  

Military Police of São Paulo (Polícia Militar do Estado de São Paulo)

190 (Portuguese) or 911 (English)

Whoever sent the e-mail appears to know that I spend a lot of time in Sao Paulo considering that much of the e-mail discusses Sao Paulo but other areas are also discussed as being crime ridden, like Rio de Janeiro.   I assume my information came from the frequent arrivals I make back to the U.S. when we must answer which city and country we visited and from which city we are arriving back to the U.S. 

When I think of how often I do the very things warned against in the e-mail, I think I must be lucky or have a screw loose to continue to visit Brazil as often as I do.  Considering that the notice came from the U.S. State Department, I guess I have some heavy-duty decisions to make or ignore.  

If anyone is interested in reading the e-mail I received, most of it is shown below with my identifying address removed,  I suspect other frequent travelers to Brazil received a similar e-mail - - the e-mail arrived today:

Brazil Travel Advisory: Level 2: Exercise increased caution, February 6, 2019

 
 
Inbox
x
 
STEP Notifications <STEP-Notifications@state.gov> 
   
Exercise increased caution in Brazil due to crime. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Do not travel to:
 
  • Any areas within 150 km of Brazil's land borders with Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, and Paraguay due to crime. (Note: This does not apply to the Foz do Iguacu National Park or Pantanal National Park.)
  • Do not use public buses in and around Recife due to crime (see additional information below).
  • Informal housing developments (commonly referred to in Brazil as favelas, vilas, communidades, and/or conglomerados), at any time of day due to crime (see additional information below).
  • Brasilia's administrative regions (commonly known as "satellite cities") of Ceilandia, Santa Maria, Sao Sebastiao, and Paranoa during non-daylight hours due to crime (see additional information below).
  • Recife's Pina Beach from Dona Benvinda de Farias Street to the Brasilia Teimosa neighborhood after dark due to crime (see additional information below).
Violent crime, such as murder, armed robbery, and carjacking, is common in urban areas, day and night. Gang activity and organized crime is widespread. Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.

If you decide to travel to Brazil:
 
  • Be aware of your surroundings, especially when traveling to tourist locations and in crowded public venues.
  • Do not physically resist any robbery attempt.
  • Use caution when walking or driving at night.
  • Avoid walking on beaches after dark.
  • Do not display signs of wealth, such as wearing expensive watches or jewelry.
  • Avoid using an ATM in low-light or remote locations. Never let someone "shoulder surf" or assist you. Be aware that criminals often target ATMs and businesses in the early morning hours. If you use an ATM, select those located inside of secure facilities, such as an airport, hospital, bank, or government building.
  • Use caution at, or going to, major transportation centers or on public transportation, especially at night. Crime statistics indicate that passengers face an elevated risk of robbery or assault using public, municipal bus transportation throughout Brazil. Consider avoiding the use of public, municipal buses, at any time of day, and especially at night.
  • Use increased caution when hiking in isolated areas, and in particular around the city of Rio de Janeiro's Corcovado Mountain trails. Multiple violent robberies have occurred on the hiking trails leading to and from Cristo Redentor on Corcovado Mountain, which are not regularly patrolled by Brazilian law enforcement.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Crime and Safety Reports for Brazil.
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler's Checklist.
International Borders

U.S. government personnel are not permitted to travel to areas within 150 km of the international land borders with Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, and Paraguay without advance approval from security officials due to crime. Travel to the Foz do Iguacu National Park and Pantanal National Park is permitted.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Public Transportation

Crime statistics and trends indicate that persons face an elevated risk of robbery or assault using public bus systems throughout Brazil. Consider avoiding the use of public, municipal buses in Brazil at any time of day, and especially at night. The U.S. Government recommends against personnel using public, municipal buses in all parts of Brazil, and prohibits personnel from using public buses in and around Recife.

Informal Housing Developments (commonly known as "Favelas")

Do not travel to informal housing developments (commonly referred to in Brazil as favelas, vilas, communidades, and/or conglomerados), even on a guided tour. Neither the tour companies nor the police can guarantee your safety when entering these communities. Even in these communities that the police or local governments deem safe, the situation can change quickly and without notice. In addition, exercise caution in areas surrounding these communities, as occasionally, inter-gang fighting and confrontations with police move beyond the confines of these communities. Except under limited circumstances and with advance approval, U.S. government personnel are not permitted to enter any informal housing developments in Brazil. Read the Safety and Security Section on the country information page for further information regarding favelas.

Visit our website for Travel High-Risk Areas.

Brasilia's Administrative Regions (formerly known as "Satellite Cities")

Without advance approval from security officials, U.S. government personnel are not permitted to travel to Brasilia's Administrative Regions of Ceilandia, Santa Maria, Sao Sebastiao, and Paranoa between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. (non-daylight hours) due to crime.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Recife's Pina Beach

U.S. government personnel are prohibited from walking after dark on Pina Beach, located in the northern part of Boa Viagem, due to crime. This restriction covers the sandy areas of Pina Beach starting at Dona Benvinda de Farias Street and ending at Brasilia Teimosa neighborhood.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Last Update: Reissued after periodic review with updates to information about U.S. government restrictions on personnel and Rio de Janeiro's Corcovado Mountain trails.

Visitors should inform the American Citizen Services Office of the U.S. Consulate if they encounter problems while traveling in São Paulo, including detainment/arrest by the police.

Crime Victim Assistance

National Emergency Services

Tel

Military Police of São Paulo (Polícia Militar do Estado de São Paulo)

190 (Portuguese) or 911 (English)

Fire Service (Corpo de Bombeiros)

193

National Civil Police (Polícia Civil)

197

Medical Emergency (Ambulância)

192

Federal Police (Polícia Federal)

(11) 3538 5000

Sea Rescue (Salvamento Marítimo)

(21) 2104 6119

 

I’m here at the moment and apart from the increased risk as it’s carnival (got attacked 3 times at Ipanema beach at mid day within 5 minutes and went home but they came off worse and got nothing) it’s the same as always ! Use common sense and don’t go down dark alleys with strangers. I’ve had boys stay over in my hotels and been fine. Shit can happen anywhere in the world if youninvite it in xxx

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10 hours ago, Studulike said:

got attacked 3 times at Ipanema beach at mid day within 5 minutes and went home 

Could you tell us more about how you got attacked?  Was it an individual or group?

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i have been going to Brazil 4 or 5 times a year since 2001, and honestly, and solely my opinion, i think it was more dangerous from 2001 - 2005 then now! I would hear weekly of “Boa noite Cinderilla”incidents! they were a every weekend occurrence! i know of 6 Americans that happened to and 4 garotoes i knew were murdered during that time period!  

But desperate times creates dispare in people and they do things they normally wouldn’t do so better to be extra vigilant during these difficult economic times when you visit Brazil! 

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11 hours ago, Studulike said:

snip - snip 

Use common sense and don’t go down dark alleys with strangers. I’ve had boys stay over in my hotels and been fine. Shit can happen anywhere in the world if youninvite it in xxx

 

Just curious how you would have reacted to my mugging that took place in Brazil a few months ago.

I did not go down a dark alley.  

I had just exited an Uber on a busy street and was headed to a restaurant I frequent often.  It was about 8:30 in the evening.

The restaurant was approximately 100 feet from where the Uber driver had to stop to let me out.  

Between where the Uber stopped and the restaurant, two guys came out of a doorway and there was no way I could have avoided them.     

The airline I use would not allow me to take that long flight back to the U.S. considering the injuries I sustained from the mugging.  

My travel insurance carrier had to charter a flight for me to get back to the U.S. where I live.

I am baffled how using "common sense" would have prevented that occurrence.  

What would you have done in a similar situation?

Sometimes, fortunately not very often, there comes a time in life when there is nothing that can be done in an unlucky situation.  

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, tomcal said:

i have been going to Brazil 4 or 5 times a year since 2001, and honestly, and solely my opinion, i think it was more dangerous from 2001 - 2005 then now! I would hear weekly of “Boa noite Cinderilla”incidents! they were a every weekend occurrence! i know of 6 Americans that happened to and 4 garotoes i knew were murdered during that time period!  

But desperate times creates dispare in people and they do things they normally wouldn’t do so better to be extra vigilant during these difficult economic times when you visit Brazil! 

I was mugged in Rio in 2005 which I reported on another thread. There is a wealth of wisdom here. I never go on public transport and am very wary of walking alone. The lesson to be learnt from my experience is that you are not safe because an area is “busy”. My mugging occurred almost in front of the Copacabana Palace at about 6:45pm and barely dark, in front of a group who just stood and watched not to mention numerous passers by who ignored my screams for help.

Edited by sydneyboy1

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1 minute ago, sydneyboy1 said:

I was mugged in Rio in 2005 which I reported on another thread. There is a wealth of wisdom here. I never go on public transport and am vary wary of walking alone. The lesson to be learnt from my experience is that you are not safe because an area is “busy”. My mugging occurred almost in front of the Copacabana Palace at about 6:45pm and barely dark, in front of a group who just stood and watched not to mention numerous passers by who ignored my screams for help.

I traveled to Brazil more than one hundred times over a fifteen year period.   I never had a mugging until late last year. 

Perhaps, because of my good luck over those years, I did not expect that two guys would suddenly see a gringo to mug who was hurriedly heading toward a restaurant. 

For those who have not been mugged  - YET - it is easy to say "use common sense" or a variety of empty words that suddenly change after they, themselves, become a victim. 

  

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Posted (edited)

I wont push my luck by saying its never happened to me but fingers crossed it doesn't...

I have been going to Rio 4-5 times a year since the early 2000s and never had any serious except the one time I went to a roided up escorts house but I only was out less than $40US....And I learned a lesson

No matter HOW MANY WARNINGS you guys post on here...there is bound to be one horny idiot that tries his luck and does something that seems too good to be true OR is somewhere he has no business being...And then will say he has NO IDEA how the incident happened...

If you make it to your 40s...50s...some of you 60 somethings....time and wisdom should tell you to use COMMON SENSE when traveling anywhere....especially in a foreign country where you don't know the language...

No leave the nice watches, cameras and cell phone in the hotel so you don't look like the easiest target anywhere...

Edited by Badboy81

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On 3/11/2019 at 8:33 PM, mvan1 said:

I traveled to Brazil more than one hundred times over a fifteen year period.   I never had a mugging until late last year. 

Perhaps, because of my good luck over those years, I did not expect that two guys would suddenly see a gringo to mug who was hurriedly heading toward a restaurant. 

For those who have not been mugged  - YET - it is easy to say "use common sense" or a variety of empty words that suddenly change after they, themselves, become a victim. 

  

I'm sorry to hear you got mugged  and at no point was I saying anywhere was safe what I was saying in a tongue in cheek way was don't go getting carried away and taking unnecessary risks ! No where in the world is 100% safe in fact in the sleepy town in England where I oc assionally reside when home a fella got stabbed j  the face some 30 times in a shopping  centre and don't get me started on the safety in American schools ! Hope you are better now 

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12 hours ago, Studulike said:

I had just arrived at the beach front and was walking behind a tourist and his girlfriend, 5 lads around 18 grabbed his carrier with food and tplk the glasses off his face I was so close to them i ended up embroiled in it and helping them. They ran off o centre we scattered the boys with some eventual help from some locals. I continued and moments later 2 lads again  about 18 fried to grab the bag off my back but the straps were on tight but 1 kept trying so I punched him in the nose which did the trick and moments later 2 kids about 15 were pulling at my arms trying to get my hands out of my pockets as by now they were in there protecting wallet and phone ! They both got a slap around the head and left with nothing. I lived in Venezueal so a bit of a tough if not slightly risky cookie 

Glad that you're still alive, cause sorry if i might look impolite but what you've done is the best thing you could do to get shot in the head or to get stabbed. It's so crazy that I am having a hard time, trying to believe that what you wrote actually happened.

You can have all the experience of the world, but the truth is that unless you're very lucky the thieves in Brazil (even 14 yrs old ones) will have a gun or a knife and will use it if you try to run after them, if you try to escape or worse if you resist.

Leave high stake games to Casinos...

Edited by likeohmygod

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Hmmm I'm in Rio next week and staying in Copacabana. 

Usually in the day I walk to Copa beach or walk or get train to Ipanema beach. I take a rucksack to carry my book and suntan lotion, if I take mobile hide it in front of my shorts!

I'm guessing if I take the same precautions as previously things should be OK... crime rate is pretty much same as last year and year before?

Some of these posts have got me worried.

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10 hours ago, trzinko said:

studulike,

where did the incident happen?  copacabana? ipanema?  any other beach?

 

Ipanema beach. (He mentioned it in his earlier post which included the State Department warnings)

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One more thing - 

My travel insurance carrier sends out newsletters every now and again.

Their newsletter of today has some excellent suggestions about how to reduce the chances of someone stealing your property or money while you are traveling. 

Some of the suggestions are already in the forum but there are some different ideas about how to keep thieves away from your money and property.

Most of the suggestions I already knew.  There were a few different ideas. 

This company is very knowledgeable about reducing theft.  Many of the suggestions help both the traveler and the insurance company because the insurance company does not have to pay for covered items not stolen.

For those interested in seeing the newsletter - 

http://links.mkt1649.com/servlet/MailView?ms=MTUyOTM0NDAS1&r=MTkyNTI2ODYxNDMzS0&j=MTYwMTEzOTczMQS2&mt=1&rt=0

 

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On ‎3‎/‎11‎/‎2019 at 8:24 PM, sydneyboy1 said:

I was mugged in Rio in 2005 which I reported on another thread. There is a wealth of wisdom here. I never go on public transport and am very wary of walking alone. The lesson to be learnt from my experience is that you are not safe because an area is “busy”. My mugging occurred almost in front of the Copacabana Palace at about 6:45pm and barely dark, in front of a group who just stood and watched not to mention numerous passers by who ignored my screams for help.

With all due respect,  you didn't actually expect the locals to put themselves at serious risk by running to the rescue of a hapless stranger, let alone a gringo??

 

Edited by mark123

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3 hours ago, mark123 said:

With all due respect,  you didn't actually expect the locals to put themselves at serious risk by running to the rescue of a hapless stranger, let alone a gringo??

 

Some people in America actually take risks helping strangers, so perhaps in Brazil too, but I don't really know since I don't  know Brazilian culture that much.

Edited by Walker

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On 3/14/2019 at 11:01 AM, likeohmygod said:

Glad that you're still alive, cause sorry if i might look impolite but what you've done is the best thing you could do to get shot in the head or to get stabbed. It's so crazy that I am having a hard time, trying to believe that what you wrote actually happened.

You can have all the experience of the world, but the truth is that unless you're very lucky the thieves in Brazil (even 14 yrs old ones) will have a gun or a knife and will use it if you try to run after them, if you try to escape or worse if you resist.

Leave high stake games to Casinos...

Please credit me with some sense ! They were wearing flip flops and shorts and nothing else and if I wasn't sure if the situation I would have reacted differently ! I have lived all over the world and spend 48 weeks of the year travelling to wild and wacky places for work and more than capable of judging a situation thanks. I think some people in here need to stick to the keys ! 

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