Rio de Janeiro stands out globally for its vibrant Carnival festivities. During this period, the city comes alive with numerous private and public gatherings, performances, the traditional street “blocos”, and the parades at Marquês de Sapucaí. A substantial influx of visitors from across the country and around the world come to the city.
Nevertheless, this celebration serves as a great opportunity for criminals. Large crowds of relaxed individuals become easy targets for illicit activities, and the security forces find themselves under heightened pressure due to increased demands.
This situation leads to a sudden surge in various petty crimes, particularly property-related offenses. Street robberies, thefts, and mass robberies become more prevalent during this time.
Scams also pose a significant risk, taking advantage of tourists’ unfamiliarity with the local customs and culture. To steer clear of such schemes, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with the typical practices of the locals, ensuring you are not susceptible to deception.
The risks extend to various locations, including nightclubs, airports, subway stations, and even within vehicles. Even well-regulated establishments like hotels are not immune to being targeted.
Therefore, exercising extreme caution in the upcoming weeks is strongly recommended.
Here are some guidelines to ensure a secure and enjoyable experience during the Carnival festivities:
- Maintain heightened situational awareness: Be cognizant of your surroundings at all times. Given the increased crowds and potential for opportunistic actions, staying alert can help minimize risks
- Try to travel in a group, preferably with local friends. At night, avoid walking on the streets alone
- Never travel by bus. Avoid the metro at night, as well as stations from the North Zone. Prefer taxis from cooperatives or call one through the App Taxi.Rio
- In Brazil, the cell phone is the most targeted item by thieves and robbers. With the smartphone in hand, criminals can access bank accounts, and social networks, carry out financial transactions, and steal data, causing harm to the victim that goes beyond replacing the device. Whenever possible, use a cheap or old cell phone to use it in the “street blocos” and similar situations. In addition, increase your cell phone protection
- Divide your money into two separate pockets, and some in a hidden pocket if possible
- If possible, store documents, cards, cell phones, and money in a money belt (small bag used under your clothes)
- Always carry a copy of your passport with you, but leave the original in a safe place
- Enjoy the festivities responsibly by moderating alcohol intake. Excessive consumption may impair judgment and increase vulnerability to various risks
- Attention to one of the most common scams at Carnival: the credit card scam
- In case of a verbal offense, very common during festivities with a lot of drug and alcohol consumption, do not pay attention and move away calmly. If the aggressor insists on following you, look for your group and the local authorities
- When approached by a criminal, keep calm and do not make sudden moves. Give him your valuables and let him go
- Never forget to notify the authorities about the crime, especially if you lost an official document with sensitive personal data. Some crimes can be initially reported online. For that purpose, Rio de Janeiro Civil Police, and the São Paulo police have dedicated webpages. After that, it is necessary to finalize the processo at a police department, but it should be much quicker after filling the online form
- Keep yourself informed about the schedule and details of Carnival events. Knowing the logistics and timings can contribute to a more organized and secure experience
One of the most popular and traditional ways to celebrate the Carnival in Brazil are the street “blocos”. In 2024, there will be 453 official “blocos” – see the official schedule – of different styles and in almost every neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro. In São Paulo, it is no different, 536 “blocos” – official schedule – are expected to take place. Some security tips can improve this experience:
– In the Carnival blocos, do not stand at all in the middle of it, since chances of being stolen, groped or squeezed by the crowd are higher. Try to remain on its edges
– If for any reason you end up surrounded by the crowd, remain calm and follow the movement until an opportunity to leave appear
– In crowded areas, inappropriate approaches, especially towards women, are very common. If anyone touches, grabs or coerces you, shout asking for help to people nearby and look for help from your friends and the authorities
– Avoid going to blocos that pass through very narrow streets, like the ones from Santa Teresa, and the extremely popular and overcrowded located Downtown (Centro), the case of “Bola Preta” and “Bloco da Preta”
190 – Military Police
191 – Federal Police
192 – Ambulance (SAMU)
193 – Fire Station
197 – Civil Police