What should be done about it?
More than what is being done. Actually, if Rio wants to keep their touristy dollars they should really wake up and smell the coffee.
When foreign or national visitors are attacked in Rio as was the example with this writer who was pick-pocketed last November when attending the Gay Pride Parade, it is sheer anguish. Luckily, the wallet was found five minutes later lying a few feet from where he was attacked, albeit without his hard-earned cash. What a relief!
Shame as well. Anguish for knowing that despite all their best efforts in Rio to safeguard tourists from being mugged, it all goes down the drain. What to do short of squad-firing all the muggers? That would not do, at all. For the minute you got rid of this dozen, there will be another dozen crawling down the hills in search of easy cash for heavens know what…
Shame for having friends who come and visit regularly and to have to tell them to never flaunt their cams and other expensive gadgets in public; to never stay out late; to have to tell them that those kids they see living under bridges and parks in rags, sniffing glue, or worse still, doing crack, are just part of the problem and that they come from centuries of neglect.
Embarrassed to read in the press that yet another tourist has been hurt in a stick-up and has had to undergo surgery in a well-known hospital. Pained to learn of the unknown and yet unclaimed nine-year-old girl who was raped and strangled post-carnival on Monday at the Flamengo embankment.
More permanent solutions like untold hours of awareness programs and education to seep down into all levels of society is called for: from the rich in the south side to the dirt poor inhabiting the hills that only their concerted efforts and proactive stance will bring down the horrible statistics.
Also, it would behoove us to warn tourists to be extra-careful and not to get too carried-away with the local atmosphere and dash to unsafe areas…no matter what. Use your good sense and try to limit your visits to the well-known and safe areas. It is worthwhile. Rio is beautiful. There is a lot do and make.
Are we on the same page?