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On Wednesday (24/05), businessman Chico Brandão, founding partner of media group FSB, had his car shot several times near Elevado Paulo de Frontin. In Rio de Janeiro, incidents like this are not uncommon. Heavily armed criminals regularly attack drivers during robbery attempts, which have increased this year. Other risks come from stray bullets, many gang-controlled areas, where shootouts happen on a daily basis, are on the margins of main streets, highways and avenues. Data indicates that for many the solution is acquiring a bulletproof car.

The Attack

Around 14:00, when leaving Rio to his country house in Petrópolis, the businessman was approached by another vehicle with the criminals. He would have been the target of an attempted robbery. Since he continued to drive, despite the criminals’ approach, they shot him several times. However, as he has a bulletproof car, he managed to escape without any injury. The criminals gave up on pursuing him and ended up stealing another vehicle nearby.

Another Episode in 2023

Earlier this year, on 17 March, a Spanish businessman had his car shot by criminals on an access road to Avenida Brasil, towards the north of the city. The vehicle was not armored, and the man was hit in the shoulder. He was hospitalized and underwent surgery. The car had 13 bullet marks.

Increase in Robberies

In 2023, the number of vehicle robberies in Rio’s Metropolitan region during April increased by 14.3%, when compared to the same period of last year. Meanwhile, data from January to April indicates an increase of 2.7%. These are potentially violent crimes that can lead to many murders or people being injured.

More Risks – Shootouts and Stray Bullets

Another risk for drivers and pedestrians alike are the shootouts that, in general, take place inside favelas due to clashes between the security forces and criminals or between the rival drug gangs during a war for territory. During the first 100 days of 2023, according to Crossfire Institute, the metropolitan region of Rio de Janeiro led the ranking of the cities with the highest number of armed confrontations. In this period the city had 1,014 shootings reported.

In these incidents, the firearms used are mostly automatics rifles with capacity to reach long distances. This fact explains the high numbers of stray bullet victims recorded annually. From 1 January to 10 April of this year, 52 people were victims of stray bullets in the metropolitan region of Rio, representing a growth of 79%. However, this figure continues to grow, and on 19 May, there were already 79 people hit, of which 26 died.

Bulletproof Vehicles

The Southeast Region of Brazil concentrates the largest number of civilian armored vehicles, according to a survey carried out by Carbon Blindados, the main armor company in the world. Rio de Janeiro occupies the 2nd position in the demand for this type of service, second only to the State of São Paulo.

Source: Metrópoles, G1, Agência Brasil, SBT, ISP.

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