Dangerous Rio

Old Apr 16th, 2009, 10:33 PM
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Dangerous Rio

It pains me to write this, because I love Rio and have often visited. But it is a very dangerous city, and you should not forget this. Tonight, i had a terrible, and I fear typical, experience. I was walking on Ipamena beach -- IPANEMA, the most "tourist-friendly" beach in Rio -- and was robbed by a group of knife-wielding teenagers at 9 p.m. There were plenty of people around as I was surrounded by these teenage thugs, who pushed me down and tried to grab everything out of pockets. I screamed "help me," but no one came to my assistance. The gang got the I-Phone out of my pocket, although not my wallet (thank goodness). I tried to run and catch the gang, but again, despite my cries of "stop them," no one helped me. It was very dis-spiriting, if only because the Cariocas nearby seemed to believe there was nothing to be gained -- and much to be risked -- by helping out this poor, dumb western tourist who had dared walk the most famous beach in Rio in the evening. I went to the police station. And while the police officer was very nice, her only guidance was to stay in my hotel at night. Rio is too dangerous after dark, was her guidance. Very sad.
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Old Apr 17th, 2009, 04:35 AM
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No LA beach

is tourist friendly at night...

Rio like Detroit is certainly unsafe

in some not all areas...

Sorry for your negative experience..
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Old Apr 17th, 2009, 04:52 AM
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Dear Flyerdc, I am sorry to hear about your experience. But qwovadis is correct above. No city beach is safe after dark. It seems that you were alone walking on the beach at night. Again - so sorry -- but this is definitely a situation that can be avoided in Rio. There is so much to do in Rio at night -- and well worth experiencing. If someone is visiting Rio -- it is advisable to hire a private guide for a least the first couple of days. Someone who can not only orient you to what is and what is not safe - but someone who basically becomes a "friend" while you are in Rio. You can go to evening programs with the guide -- and as an insider can take you to some of the best out of the way music scenes in the city -- and also keep it safe.
I have close friends who have lived in Rio all of their lives -- and they would never walk alone on Ipanema Beach at night. But they do spend every day visiting Ipanema beach in the morning. They also enjoy Rio's fabulous restaurants and night spots at night. Please do not allow this unfortunate experience to bring you to sweeping generalisations regarding the safety of Rio. All big cities have dangers -- and because Rio is so physically beautiful - sometimes visitors forget that it is a "big city" -- and you must not walk alone on a beach after dark.
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Old Apr 17th, 2009, 08:24 AM
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"I tried to run and catch the gang, but again, despite my cries of "stop them," no one helped me. It was very dis-spiriting"

This always baffles me. Why would you expect people to put themselves in physical harms' way to help someone over a piece of property? Were they running away with your child?
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Old Apr 17th, 2009, 01:06 PM
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Forget the phone. I was much more surprised that no one bothered to help me -- and again, there were lots of people around -- after I had been pushed to the road in the middle of traffic and surrounded by knife-wielding kids. Ipanema is the equivalent of South Beach in Miami or, for that matter, Times Square in New York. If the police cannot protect people -- Rio residents and tourists alike -- from this sort of brazen attack in the middle of a well-lit beachfront that is the lifeblood of its tourism industry, where is safe? And again, I feel this is terrible shame, because Rio is a beautiful city with a wonderful culture worth experiencing. Still, I have lived and worked in many dangerous places and never experienced anything like this...
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Old Apr 17th, 2009, 01:09 PM
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And I should be clear. I was not on the beach itself. I was on the well-lit sidewalk that is filled with pedestrians and joggers - and tourists -- all day and all night. There is no equivalent to that in Detroit, to note the comparison above.
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Old Apr 17th, 2009, 02:02 PM
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So sorry to hear about your experience; it's every tourist's worst nightmare. I gather this kind of attack is more common around Carnival time, not that that makes it any easier to deal with. You must be very shaken and upset, I hope you will be feeling better soon.
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Old Apr 17th, 2009, 04:12 PM
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I have been to Rio six times in seven years. Prior to my going on the first trip, I was advised to dress simply, wear NO good watch, carry little cash wherever I go, esp. at night. Take taxis for late night travel (if it's a distance), keep the "good" jewelry locked up, or better yet, don't wear it, and NEVER walk the beach area at night Ipanema, Copa, etc. esp. if you're a visitor.

I've used all of these tips and have NOT encountered any difficulties. I'm a man and easily (at those times) could blend in with the cariocas and be mistaken as one (which has been the case on a few occasions), but what I wrote above in the first paragraph can apply to women as well.

I, too, am sorry to have read about your misfortune, but please don't let that deter your going to my world's favorite city in the future. I know it was an undaunting experience and know that the thought of being held up via knife point and having no one to intercede was too much to take, but as a few others have written-- please don't cast the city and its inhabitants in a generalized light based on this negative experience.

On another site (blog) I read of a similar experience which a male encountered.
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Old Apr 18th, 2009, 03:37 AM
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I think he is actually more upset by the fact that no one tried to help him then the fact he got mugged.

flyerdc do you actually think people in the good ole USA would run to aid someone when there was a a group of "knife-wielding teenagers" mugging him?
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Old Apr 18th, 2009, 06:25 AM
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Riobound: Yes, I do think somebody would help me in the "gold ole USA." (And in most of the rest of the world, for that matter, including other dangerous cities.)

I wouldn't have necessary expected anyone to try to grab one of the kids.

But someone could have at least helped me by yelling or screaming for the cops -- or tripping one of the kids as he ran from the scene. Anything.

It's one thing to be told that you can get attacked in the center of a tourist area. It's another (very chilling) thing to be told that when it happens, NO ONE will help you.
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Old Apr 19th, 2009, 03:16 AM
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So, I was correct! You were more upset about no one coming to your aid, than the fact you got mugged.
No one bothered to call the cops because the cops never come. No one tried to come to your defense with the "Knife-wielding teenagers" because that's just dumb. They were not willing to get stabbed or sliced up to help a stranger. Are you sure the "Knife-wielding teenagers" did not also have a gun with them?
I was not there to witness the event but you made it sound like a pack of wild kids all brandishing knives attacked you. I'm sure if that was in fact the case, that no one in the USA would have lifted a finger to aid you also.
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Old Apr 19th, 2009, 09:29 AM
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Fine, so tell tourists clearly and without qualification that they must NEVER go walking outside after dark. I drove past Ipanema last night at about the same time and saw plenty of people on the beach -- including several gringo tourists, as well as plenty of families with kids! -- on the beach. So clearly that message is not out there. Why do you want to defend this situation, or at least attack the victims? Am I am wrong to suggest that, for a minimal investment given the larger tourism economy, the city put police on its most famous beach? Why would you want to defend a city government that has a police force that does not respond to violent attacks, even against the tourists who bring in so much revenue? You seem to be suggest that it is this way -- and will always be this way. That´s a terrible pity, especially in such an otherwise wonderful city.
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Old Apr 19th, 2009, 06:26 PM
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It's a known fact that you should never go on the beach at night in Rio, never, never, never.

The Police are underpaid and overworked and difficult to trust.
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Old Apr 20th, 2009, 05:32 AM
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I never defended the Rio Police. I merely stated a fact. They will not help!
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Old Apr 21st, 2009, 06:59 AM
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People like us who hang out on travel forums know what to beware of or we know we should find a forum and ask. Most tourists have no idea. I think the hotels and hostels should have a written notice, prominently displayed, warning about even walking near the beach at night.
If you are singled out (and anyone can be a target), just hand over your stuff. People are unlikely to help as there are far too many cases of people getting killed doing exactly that.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2009, 10:11 PM
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I'm so sad to hear this happened to you. It must have been horrible.

That said , I'm glad you posted this here so others can learn.
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Old Apr 26th, 2009, 04:52 PM
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Soryy to hear that you have been attached and nobody help you.
I live in Jamaica and I was attached and robbed by thugs in broad daylight and asked for help. The people around me supported and shielded the attackers and not me the victim .
By the way somebody tried to steal my watch in Sao Paulo last year in a very good area Itaim Bibi and the locals saw what was happenning chased the attacker away and beat him up.
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