Rio de Janeiro is the capital city of the state of Rio de Janeiro and is second largest city in the South American country of Brazil. "Rio" as the city is commonly abbreviated is also the third largest metropolitan area in Brazil. It is considered one of the main tourist destinations in the Southern Hemisphere and is famous for its beaches, carnival celebration and various landmarks such as the statue of Christ the Redeemer.
The City of Rio de Janeiro is located on Brazil's Atlantic coast near the Tropic of Capricorn. The city itself is built on an inlet in the western portion of Guanabara Bay. The entrance to the bay is distinct because of a 1,299 foot (396 m) mountain called Sugarloaf.
The Harbour of Rio De Janeiro:
The Harbour of Rio de Janeiro is located at a latitude of 23°45'S and longitude 44°45'W. This places the Bay and the city of Rio de Janeiro in the tropics.
The Harbour of Rio de Janeiro measures 17.4 miles (28 km) from east to west and 18.6 miles (30 km) from north to south. It extends 20 miles (32 km) inland.
The Bay spans 88 miles in length and has 50 miles (80 km) of beaches.
This harbor has the largest volume of water in the world at 49,470,899 cubic gallons (187,000,000 cubic meters) of water and covers a surface area of 238. 6 square miles (384 square kilometers).
Within the Harbour of Rio de Janeiro there are 130 islands that include Governor's Island, Fundao and Snakes Island.
The harbour is designated as one of the seven wonders of the world.
The principal marina in Rio is Marina Da Gloria. However, this marina, which has the capacity to berth up to 450 yachts of up to 75m in size, has been designated exclusively for competitors yachts for the 2016 Olympic Games. Improvements to the marina are underway and the facility is going to become one of the most desirable facilities for the superyacht industry. Despite this, yachts are encouraged to anchor in the bay overlooked by the Sugar Loaf and they get access ashore via the Rio Yacht club and get all services and goods without issue.
Emergency Services in Rio
Latest Crime Rates in Rio
Rio de Janeiro has been rated "critical" for crime by the US State Department for the past 25 years. Crimes statistics for 2012 reflect continued critically high and rising levels of crimes in both the state and city of Rio de Janeiro in the categories of robbery, rape, fraud, and residential thefts.
While crime rates remain at critical levels, the homicide rate continues to fall. The homicide rate in the state and city of Rio de Janeiro has dropped dramatically from 42 homicides per 100,000 in 2005 to 24 homicides per 100,000 last year. Despite this drop, in 2012 there were still 4,041 homicides in Rio de Janeiro state and 1,209 homicides in the city of Rio De Janeiro. Rio is in the midst of a campaign to shake off its reputation for violent crime, with a succession of police operations to take control of dozens of favelas, slums once under the sway of drug traffickers or militias using the Police Pacification Unit (UPP).
Police effectively control every major favela in Rio from the downtown financial district, extending south to the affluent Zona Sul and the west to the Barra da Tijuca.The goal it that by 2016 and the Olympic games, a further 10 favelas will be under police control. Foreigners are especially at risk for being targeted for crime, as they rarely file police reports and will most probably not return to testify against them.
Street robberies are rife in affluent areas, for electronic goods such as cell phones and laptop computers. Individuals are targeted by organised gangs as they withdraw money fron ATM machines. These teams operate in gangs and are generally armed. Credit card fraud and credit card cloning is significant, particularly from Atm machines.
If you happen to be confronted by armed assailants, attempt to de-escalate the situation by turning over your valuables without comment. In two recent high profile cases in Rio De Janeiro, two individuals were shot dead for non-compliance with a robber.
Rio De Janeiro is not known for its political protests, however in recent months large scale protests that have turned violent, have been common place in the city, in the build up to the World Cup and the Olympics in 2016. Avoid these large gatherings, as obvious tourists will be seen as a target.At these protests, a new anarchistic group has emerged, that is gaining in momentum.
The Black Bloc are a militant anarchist group that has only emerged as a direct result of the protests in June and August 2013. The group use social media sites such as facebook and Twitter to rally its troops, whos’ main aim is to destroy public and private property on a large scale. They target property that they see as embodying the state and corporate power, such as government buildings, police stations, media outlets and retailers linked with big global brands. What is worrying for the Rio police, is that little is known about the group, but their numbers and activities are ever increasing and involve people from all walks of life in Brazil.
If you thinks about the number of people in Brazil who use social media sights regularly, ( 89% as of September 2013 ) the number of people who can be reached and mobilised in a short time, is huge and will be a growing problem as the world cup nears.
Kidnapping for ransom and express kidnapping (known as sequestro relampago or lightning kidnapping) are a significant risk for those percieved to be wealthy. They will hold their captive until a ransom payment is made. With an express kidnapping, assailants will withdraw as much money from an ATM machine using a debit card until it will allow no more. ( Source: OSAC May 2013)
It is well and good having crime statistics to refer to, but it needs to be remembered that a good proportion of petty street crime is not reported and Brazil has an endemic mistrust of the police and the methods they use to enforce the law and the lengths that they will go to, to detect the criminals ( why bother reporting, if you know nothing will be done?)
Some impressive statistics indicating change:
The sharp decline in shootings. In 2009, there were 769 recorded in Copacabana. Last year, this fell to zero.
Rio’s murder rate has halved in the past decade. In the Alemão district – long notorious as a Red Command headquarters – shootings have fallen to seven a day. If that still seems staggering, compare it with the more than 150 cases a day in 2009. (stats. taken from The Guardian report 10th June 2013)
Despite the dramatic reduction in lethal crimes, the non-lethal crime is on the rise. Muggings and carjackings are on the rise, as are rapes and domestic violence. This could be attributed to the fact that the drug warlords of the favelas used to rule with an iron fist and punished anyone who committed crime severely. Now that they are not as active, more crime is possible and more is being reported, that would otherwise have been dealt with internally.
Obviously like any other city in the world, opportunist crime against tourists is one that you can try to avoid, by taking precautions:
Leave expensive or expensive looking watches and jewelry at home. Wear a cheap watch and never have gold chains or pendants visible.
Keep your camera deep in a zippered pocket, or attached in a small pouch to your belt and covered by your shirt.
Make copies of your passport and credit cards. When possible leave passports locked up in the hotel room safe and take a photocopy out with you.
If possible, don't carry large amounts of cash with you on the street. You might carry small amounts in a pocket that's easy to reach, and keep larger bills deeper in zippered pockets.
Women: a purse is OK to carry, just make it a cheap one, and keep most of your cash and cards in a money belt under your blouse.
Some people carry a "mugger's wallet" in their front pocket, which is a small amount of paper money and an expired credit card clipped together or held with a rubber band. The theory is that if you are held up, the mugger will accept this "wallet", while your real wallet is hidden away. Note: we cannot vouch for the effectiveness of this strategy!
Avoid walking on the beaches after dark, unless you are with a large group of people. Tourist robberies occur with great frequency on the beaches adjacent to the nightclubs and hotels on Copacabana beach. Also avoid walking down streets near the smaller Favelas (shanty towns) that border Ipanema and Copacabana.
Resist the any temptation to bring strangers back to your room, as after a night of partying you could be robbed or assaulted. Many of the guys and girls who cozy up to tourists in nightclubs are actually prostitutes and some are criminals. Avoid the late night stolen cash, credit cards, and passport drama!
Be careful when visiting Lapa, Santa Teresa, and Centro neighborhoods after dark. Stick to the well lit and busy restaurant and nightclub areas.
Don't ride the city buses later at night, when robberies may occur. Walk on well lit streets and take taxi cabs to further away destinations.
If you are held up or are the victim of a purse snatcher or pickpocket, cooperate and don't give chase. Many thieves in Rio de Janeiro carry knives or guns and are quick to use them when challenged.
Don't take valuables to the beach. In addition to reading these Rio de Janeiro safety tips, visit our Rio de Janeiro Beach Tips page.
Dress down whenever possible if you are walking on the street at night. Don't make it a fashion show while on your Rio de Janeiro vacation.
If you are a victim of crime:
Call the US embassy/Consulate for advise on 011 55 21 3823-2000
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