Thursday, 3 February 2011

Personal Safety & Security While Travelling in Brazil

Visitors to Brazil are often scared of the reputation that the country has in terms of personal safety and security. Much of this reputation has been earned of course, but in the days of 24 hour rolling news channels and worldwide internet coverage, there is also a tendency to dramatise dangers, and Brazil is no different to anywhere else in this respect.

Some people arrive in Brazil expecting civil war in the streets, and to not be able to leave their hotels at night for fear of violence, but then arrive to find people strolling in the streets, eating dinner outside and laughing and joking as if the civil war never existed. With it didn’t. Even the recent trouble around Penha in the Zona Norte of Rio de Janeiro, with tanks and armoured cars travelling up the streets and drug-traffickers escaping Vila Cruzeiro for the Complexo do Alemão, even this didn’t affect most of the rest of the city too much, never mind the rest of Brazil. Life continued as normal for most people, and tourists in the city didn’t seem to notice the supposed civil war as they went to watch Bossa Nova bands on the Saturday night.

This is not to say that Brazil is a trouble-free country of course, and it never will be while such a huge gap between rich and poor continues to exist. Visiting foreigners will always be seen as rich by most Brazilians, and even the most hard-up, spent-up backpacker will still be comparatively wealthy by local standards, and may be a target for those locals who need some quick money and are prepared to use violence or the threat of it.