Brazil Police Issue Pamphlet Warning Tourists: 'Don't React if Robbed'

Deadly robberies on the rise in São Paulo and threat of violent protests spark government action

Flickr/Camilla Soares

“Do not react, scream or argue.” That is the advice São Paulo police are giving tourists should they be robbed. The instruction comes in the form of printed pamphlets, which include other safety tips to prevent robbery, in anticipation of The World Cup, according to local newspaper Estadão de São Paulo.

In less than a month, Brazil is expecting 600,000 tourists and police are concerned visitors aren’t prepared. Latrocinios, or robberies that end in murder, have been on the rise in São Paulo. Increasing nine percent last year, they hit a nine-year high with a total of 385 deaths, prompting police to distribute the pamphlet.

The information will be printed in English, Spanish and French and will be distributed on flights to São Paulo, and to embassies and consulates. Police are also prepared to handle emergency calls in both Spanish and English.

Police Officer Mario Leite spoke to the daily paper about the pamphlets.

Tourists coming from Europe or the U.S. don’t come frequently and aren’t used to seeing these types of crimes. Since they’re not used to it, they will react to an assault. With the pamphlets, they know not to flaunt certain objects, to be careful at night and to only walk around if accompanied.

But the increase in deadly robberies isn’t the only issue tourists should know about; police have been occupying favelas in attempts to stem crime at the source. Conflicts, including shootouts and cases of arson, have become increasingly bloody and many people have been forcibly relocated.

During an event last year, which was a test run for The World Cup, a million citizens took to city streets to protest the exorbitant $14 billion price tag of the one-time event going on this summer. In light of failing healthcare, education and infrastructure systems, they argued the money could have been used to improve life at home. Protesting citizens were met by police using rubber bullets, tear gas and percussion grenades.

In preparation for The World Cup, Brazil has deployed 30,000 troops and accepted help from the U.S. in training forces to handle violent protests. Though the pamphlets might help tourists evade a mugger, they won’t be much help if protests arise in São Paulo streets.


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