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During the Carnival, thousands attend to parades held on Copacabana beach. Despite the extra security implemented, public disorder incidents take place regularly. It is not uncommon to witness robberies, mass robberies, thefts, fights and vandalism. Unfortunately, this is true for most areas where public Carnival events are promoted.

The official Carnival dates are not fixed, normally they remain between the end of February and the first days of March. However, streets parades begin before the official Carnival period and they continue even after the holidays. A relevant flow of national and international tourists visit the city for this world-famous event. The parades dynamics offer an excellent opportunity for criminals to commit petty crimes. Lack of proper law enforcement, relative easiness to blend within the crowd and flee, use of disguise, abuse of alcohol and substances, unfamiliarity of city hotspots by tourists and difficulty to identify threats among the crowd makes Carnival and its street parades a perfect situation for crimes.

Considering the facts aforementioned, it is always important to follow the recommendations below:

ON THE STREETS – Blocos and Carnival Parties

  • Avoid unnecessary exposure of valuables/expensive items, including walk and talk on the phone;
  • In street parades always carry your belongings in a hidden pocket or anti-theft money belt, including cell phone, identification document, credit cards and money. Pickpockets are always present;
  • Always carry a copy of your passport with you, it can avoid a lot of trouble from law enforcement;
  • Try to circulate in a group, preferably with local friends. At night, avoid walking alone;
  • Be always with your friends and, for the case of someone getting lost, have a meeting point;
  • Avoid all public transportation at night, including the metro. Consider calling a taxi from a cooperative or from your hotel, especially when travelling to less secure or unfamiliar locations;
  • Keep in mind that taxis might be difficult to take near street parades, or even charge excessive fees;
  • Avoid the so-called “mega-blocos” such as the one stated before;
  • There are no 100% safe blocos in Rio de Janeiro, but the safest are the ones happening in the Zona Sul: from Leblon to Flamengo;
  • Street parades are safer and less crowded early in the morning. Attention to some parades that start at dawn and extend to the morning, these ones are not recommended;
  • Avoid blocos in Santa Teresa, the narrowness of its streets makes it a thief’s haven. The same is valid for Lapa and other neighborhoods surrounding Downtown;
  • The samba school parades in the Sambódromo are normally safe events while you are inside Sapucaí. However, insecurity rises considerably on the immediate surroundings. Therefore, it is not an option to wander outside the Sambódromo searching for a taxi. It is recommended for those who will attend the event to previously organize the return;
  • Try to imitate the local Brazilians’ clothing and habits, criminals are attracted by foreigners;
  • When approached by a criminal, keep calm and do not make sudden moves. Give him your valuables and let him go;
  • In case of a verbal offense or harassment, very common during festivities with drugs 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;
  • Be always attentive to your surroundings, never allow children to move away from you;
  • In crowded areas, inappropriate approaches, especially towards women, are very common. If anyone touches, grabs or coerces you, escape quietly and, if not possible, shout asking for help to people nearby, from your friends and the authorities;

ON THE ROADS – During Short Trips

  • In case of an emergency on a state road, call 190. If on a federal road, call 191;
  • If it is necessary to stop during the trip, look for a gas station or a police post. Avoid stopping on the roadside, especially in isolated zones, due to the risk of opportunistic actions;
  • When visiting unfamiliar places, avoid trusting totally on the GPS and search for information regarding safe routes. When in doubt, look for information from the local police forces;
  • Anticipate tolls. Some of the best highways in Brazil are controlled and preserved by companies, however, in these zones, there are tolls with most fees varying from R$5,00 to R$20,00;
  • During the Carnival, small countryside cities become overpopulated by turist. It is important to pay attention to that. Normally, violence, robberies and thefts rise as a direct effect.

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