With the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, only a year and a half away, some are worried about the recent thefts on the beaches where many Olympic tourists will be spending time in August, 2016. The problem along the Rio beaches is something called arrastoes, or “dragnet.” In these dragnets, groups of youths run through the beach crowd, causing a commotion as they steal cell phones, jewelry, and other valuables.
Fortunately, Brazilian police are dealing with the issue in several ways. About 800 police officers were deployed to patrol the beaches where tens of thousands of visitors flock each weekend. Helicopters and a mobile surveillance unit were brought in to provide added security to the beaches. Roadblocks were created where the police can stop buses traveling from poorer communities and where they can randomly frisk passengers.
Currently, police are detaining between 100 and 150 individuals each weekend, with roadblocks being the most effective in dealing with the problem. The police cannot deal with the thefts on their own, though. Whether you are planning to come to the beaches during the 2016 Olympic Games, you want to come for a vacation at another time, or you already live in Brazil but you want to visit the beach, there are several things you can do to avoid being a victim of a beach theft.
Leave your valuables at the hotel.
Only bring what is absolutely necessary with you to the beach. Leave extra money and jewelry at your hotel. The less you have with you, the less someone can take. You may also want to consider limiting the amount of valuables you bring with you on vacation at all. Leave unnecessary items at home.
Pick less congested areas.
Of course, this might be nearly impossible during the tourist season, but when possible, avoid areas where there seems to be a lot of excitement, or where there is a commotion. In the same sense, be aware of those around you. Do not be afraid to move to another location along the beach if a group near you is making you feel uncomfortable or unsafe.
Be aware of the location of group members and valuables.
Some people in your group are probably going to want to enjoy the water, while others in the group enjoy sunbathing or reading a book on the beach. You will probably get separated, but you should be aware of the location of other members of your group. If a commotion should start, draw close together. This can help to ensure the safety of group members as well as keep your valuables protected. You may want to consider things like safety pinning your room key to your swimsuit or other clothing, as well as keeping valuables securely attached to you and out of the sight of others.
Even with the more frequent thefts along Brazilian beaches, there is no reason tourists cannot enjoy their vacation and feel safe as long as they take the proper precautions.