Anyone living in Brazil must be aware of how to report a crime, especially now that the country is expecting to receive so many foreigners for the sports events it is going to host in 2014 and 2016. Learn in this article how to report a crime in Brazil.
Violence in Brazil: a sad reality
Whenever you’re travelling to a foreign country, you probably think of what clothes you should you take with you, what the weather is like, where you’re staying, what you’re going to do to have some fun, etc. Very rarely you would worry about the time you’d be back to the hotel or about sun bathing at the beach. Unfortunately, these are concerns any person coming to Brazil must have in mind.
Crimes against tourists and foreigners in Brazil are a reality and happen more often than it is reported on the media. The most common ones are robbery and pickpocket, but kidnaping and “arrastões” are still the major concerns.
The practice of “arrastões” is a form of collective robbery in which the criminals rob several people at the same time. It happens mostly in restaurants, at the beach and in parties that occur on the streets such as Carnaval and “micaretas”. It also happens during rush hour when the victims are stuck on traffic and have no possibility of running away.
Kidnapping cases are also very frequent in Brazil. The most common practice is to kidnap the victims, take them to an ATM and having them withdrawing all their balance. In many cases, as it is not possible to withdraw more than BRL 500,00, the victims are taken to stores and are forced to spend all the amount they have available on their credit cards.
Cases of pickpocket are common in areas with a great concentration of people such as 25 de Março Street in São Paulo, or in a crowded subway, for example. As it happens in most pickpocket crimes, the victims do not realize that they have been robbed until they actually try to reach for their wallet or purse.
How to avoid a crime
There is no formula that can guarantee you 100% protection against crimes, but there are some measures that may decrease your exposure to a dangerous situation. DEATUR SP (Delegacia Especializada em Atendimento ao Turista em São Paulo) has selected some tips to foreigners coming to the city. Some of them may sound a little obvious, but depending on the occasion, it is worth to mention:
- If you need any information while at the airport, look for one of the DENATUR offices;
- Avoid opening your luggage in public areas, especially if inside of it there are electronic equipment or money;
- In case of somebody feels sick and you are asked to look for help, take your belongings with you. It is a very common practice to have criminals working in groups of people in which one of them would pretend to be feeling sick and in need for an ambulance while the other would steal your belongings when you leave to look for help;
- Whenever taking a cab, ask to have your belongings in the trunk. This way, you would avoid being robbed during one of those “arrastões” that happen when you are stuck on traffic. When using your mobile phone while in the cab, make sure that the device stays on the opposite side of the window: it is not uncommon to be on the phone and have it robbed by a pedestrian or a biker;
- While in restaurants, do not leave your belongings on the table if you have to leave, even if it is for a short period of time;
- If you go to a party, don’t ever leave your drink; you might have some illegal substance blended in it.
- Carry cameras in the most discreet possible way;
The entire list can be checked here. Be aware that information is available in Portuguese.
Reporting a crime
Let’s say you have taken all the required precautions but even still you couldn’t avoid being a victim of a crime.
In Brazil, when a crime is committed the victim must fill in a “boletim de ocorrência”, which is the Portuguese word for an accident report. Depending on the incident, it can be filled in online. In this case, you would have a B.E.O (Boletim Eletrônico de Ocorrência). For that, you must access Secretaria da Segurança Pública
These are the crimes that can be reported online in São Paulo state:
- Missing persons;
- Reporting the encounter of missing persons;
- Theft or loss of personal documents;
- Traffic accidents (where there are no victims);
- Vehicle theft.
All other crimes must be reported personally at a police station. Foreigners must present their passports or RNE, in case they are already residents. If the victim is going to any other police station that not the ones specialized in the assistance of foreigners, it is recommended that he is accompanied by a Portuguese speaker as there is no guarantee that there will be a police officer able to assist him in any other language.
Police station for foreigners
Aware of the problem of violence against foreigners in Brazil, several cities have created police stations that are specialized in assisting foreigners living or staying in Brazil. Most of them are specialized in the assistance of tourists, but nevertheless they are a police station providing services in English, Spanish, Italian and other languages. If you speak Portuguese, you can try any other police station.
These are the police stations in Brazil that offer a service more directed to foreigners:
Delegacia em Crime Contra Turista:
Estrada Aeroporto Eduardo Gomes, Tarumã, Manaus. Phone number: + 55 92 3652 1656 / 3233 0739.
Grupamento de Apoio ao Turista (GAT):
Praça da Curva da Jurema, módulo 18, Vitória. Phone number: + 55 27 3382 3053.
Delegacia de Proteção ao Turista (DPTUR) – Polícia Civil:
Avenida Américo Buaiz, 200, Enseada do Suá (Shopping Vitória), Vitória. Phone number: + 55 11 3137 9117.
Delegacia de estrangeiros:
Alameda Doutor Muricy, 814 – Curitiba. Phone number: +55 41 3233 3290.
Delegacia de Polícia do Turista:
Praça Min. Salgado Filho, Imbiribeira-Ibuna, Recife. Phone number: + 55 11 3184 3437.
Rio de Janeiro
Delegacia Especial de Atendimento ao Turista (DEAT):
Av. Afranio de Melo Franco, 159, Leblon. Phone number: + 55 21 2332 2924
Rio Grande do Norte
Delegacia do Turista:
Av. Engenheiro Roberto Freire, 8790, Ponta Negra (Praia Shopping). Phone number: 84 3232 7402 / 3232 7404.
Rio Grande do Sul
Delegacia de Polícia para o Turista (DPTUR):
Salgado Filho airport, Porto Alegre, RS.
Divisão Policial de Portos, Aeroportos, Atendimento ao Turista e Proteção a Dignitários:
Rua São Bento, 380 – 5º - Centro. Phone number: +55 11 3107-5642 / 3107-8332;
1º Delegacia Especializada de Polícia de Atendimento ao Turista/Deatur:
Rua da Consolação, 247 Centro Phone number: +55 11 3257-4475 / 3151-4167;
2° Delegacia de Polícia do Aeroporto de São Paulo/Congonhas:
Avenida Washington Luis, s/nº - Phone number: +55 11 5090-9032 / 5090-9043,5090-9041 / 5090-9038;
3º Delegacia de Polícia do Aeroporto Internacional de São Paulo – Cumbica:
Rua Doutor João Jamil Zarif, s/nº-Cumbica/Guarulhos - Phone number: +55 11 2611-2686;
4º Delegacia de Polícia Internacional de Viracopos/Campinas
Phone number: +55 19 3225-9854 / 3225-5426 / 3725-5412;
5º Delegacia de Polícia do Porto de Santos
Phone number: +55 13 3224-2726.
Delegacia de Proteção ao Turista (DPTUR):
Terminal Rodoviário Rita Maria - Avenida Paulo Fontes, 1101, Centro. Phone number: + 55 48 3333 2103.
Delegacia Especial de Turismo (DETUR):
Av; Santos Dumont, 9999, Atalaia, Aracaju. Phone number: + 55 79 3255 2155.