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Rio de Janeiro is a world-famous city for its Carnival celebrations. In this period, the city is taken by hundreds of private and public parties, shows, the traditional street “blocos” and the Marquês de Sapucaí parades. Hence, there is a significant influx of tourists from all over the country and the world to the city.

However, this event is seen by criminals as an opportunity. Crowds with distracted people during their leisure time are a magnet for opportunistic actions. In addition, at this time of the year, the security forces also become overwhelmed, since their personnel is put under even more stress.

The consequence of such scenario is the sudden increase in all kinds of petty crimes, particularly, those against property. Among the most frequent ones, there are street robberies, thefts and mass robberies.

There are also risks connected to scams. The most simple take advantage of tourists’ lack of knowledge of local habits and culture. To avoid these ones, it is important to understand beforehand how things are normally done by the locals, so you can be sure that nobody is trying to deceive you.

The risks are everywhere, night clubs, airports, and inside the subway or a car. Even well controlled facilities, like hotels, are targeted.

Therefore, it is recommend to be extremely careful over the next weeks.


The recommendations below reduce risks, when properly followed:

  • Try to travel in a group, preferably with local friends. At night, avoid walking 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
  • Avoid unnecessary display of expensive items in crowded areas. Do not carry valuables (jewels, cameras, designer watches, credit cards etc.)
  • In Brazil, the cell phone is the most targeted item by thieves and robbers. With the smartphone in hand, criminals can access bank accounts, 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
  • Always carry a copy of your passport with you, but leave the original in a safe place
  • Attention to one of the most common scams at Carnival: the credit card swap

Popular Scam

Normally, it is carried out by malicious street vendors or drivers (taxi etc.). They take advantage of the customer’s distraction to observe the password or induce him to enter the code in the purchase amount field. Already aware of the password, the fake merchant exchanges the card and returns another very similar.

  • Before entering the password, check that the value typed is correct
  • Do not use a machine with a broken display or that does not allow data to be read
  • Be alert if your password numbers appear on the machine screen after type
  • Do not lose sight of the card
  • 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

Street “Blocos”

One of the most popular and traditional ways to celebrate the Carnival in Brazil are the street “blocos”. In 2023, there will be 415 official “blocos” see the official schedule – of different styles and in almost every neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro. In São Paulo, it is not different, 507 “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”

Useful Contacts

190 – Military Police

191 – Federal Police

192 – Ambulance (SAMU)

193 – Fire Station

197 – Civil Police

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