Safety & Precautions
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Safety & Precautions
In the City
Despite Rio's reputation, crime is no more likely than in any large city, and many cariocas feel that the city's safety is unfairly portrayed by the media. Most crimes involving visitors occur in crowded public areas: beaches, busy sidewalks, intersections, and city buses. Pickpockets, usually children, work in groups. One will distract you while another grabs a wallet, bag, or camera. Be particularly wary of children who thrust themselves in front of you and ask for money or offer to shine your shoes. Another member of the gang may strike from behind, grabbing your valuables and disappearing into the crowd. Another tactic is for criminals to approach your car at intersections. Always keep doors locked and windows partially closed. Leave valuables in your hotel safe, don't wear expensive jewelry or watches, and keep cameras strapped to your wrist.
On the Beach
Don't shun the beaches because of reports of crime, but do take precautions. Leave jewelry, passports, and large sums of cash at your hotel; don't wander alone and at night; and be alert when groups of friendly youths engage you in conversation (sometimes they're trying to distract you while one of their cohorts snatches your belongings). A big danger is actually the sun. From 10 am to 3 pm the rays are merciless, making heavy-duty sunscreen, hats, cover-ups, and plenty of liquids essential; you can also rent a beach umbrella from vendors on the beach or your hotel. Ambulant vendors stroll the beaches with beverages, food, and trinkets. Unlike in other beach destinations you may have experienced, these guys are no-nonsense salespeople, and quickly move on if you shake your head no. Most beachgoers take advantage of their services. Beach vendors aren't supposed to charge more than R$5.50 for a bottle of beer or other alcoholic beverage, R$3 for a coconut water. Lifeguard stations, including bathrooms and showers, are found every kilometer.
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