- Doctor James Gold was fatally stabbed near to Rio’s tourist hotspots
- Latest in long line of attacks on tourists in Brazilian seaside city
- Rio de Janeiro will host the 2016 Olympic Games, yet mayor confident problems will be ironed out
John Hutchinson for MailOnline
07:36 EST, 23 May 2015
11:18 EST, 23 May 2015
Rio de Janeiro police are reinforcing patrols in areas popular with tourists and near venues that will host Olympic events next year after a series of knife attacks on locals and foreigners.
The stabbings sparked calls for protest marches this weekend to demand better security.
The latest attack came on Friday when a Chilean living in Rio was stabbed and her tablet computer stolen in a park adjacent to an area where Olympic cycling events will take place.
Rio de Janeiro is a popular spot with tourists, with the Christ the Redeemer statue a major draw
A spate of stabbings, one of which was fatal, has led to a bigger police presence in Rio de Janieiro
And cyclist Jamie Gold was was stabbed in the early evening on Tuesday while cycling near the Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon in the most upscale neighbourhood in Rio de Janeiro.
Two teenagers carried out the attack, and then stole the tourist’s bike. The 57-year-old doctor died from his injuries the next day.
It was the fourth such stabbing at the lake in recent weeks, and there have been over 10 other stabbings during muggings in central Rio in that time.
The area is popular with tourists, not far from the world-famous Ipanema beach and in the shadows of the Christ the Redeemer statue.
One tourist was fatally stabbed on Tuesday not far from the tourist hotspot of Ipanema beach
Speaking to The Telegraph, Alfredo Lopes, president of the Brazilian Hotel Industry Association (ABIH) said: ‘Unfortunately, violence has returned to be part of our daily routine.
‘We have returned to the stage of alerts to visitors and episodes involving consulates with a focus on the lack of security.’
Foreign Office advice on travel to Brazil
Crime levels are high. Violence and crime can occur anywhere and often involve firearms or other weapons. You should be vigilant, particularly before and during the festive and carnival periods.
Avoid wearing expensive jewellery, watches and clothes. Don’t carry large sums of money. Keep mobile phones and cameras out of sight and leave your passport and valuables in a safe place, though you should carry another form of photo ID like a driving licence with you at all times. Be ready to hand over valuables if you’re threatened. Don’t attempt to resist attackers. They may be armed and under the influence of drugs.
Thefts from cars are common, and cases of carjacking occur. When approaching your car have the keys ready to make it easier to get into the car. When driving, keep doors locked and windows closed, and take particular care at traffic lights. In three or more lanes of traffic, consider using the middle lanes. Avoid deserted or poorly lit places, except under reliable local advice. Be aware of people approaching to ask for information, especially at night. The threat of personal attack is lower outside cities, but incidents can occur even in holiday destinations that appear relatively secure.
But mayor Eduardo Paes said Wednesday he was confident in security arrangements for next year’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics, South America’s first games.
‘This is not an issue about the Olympics,’ Paes said. ‘It’s an issue about us Cariocas (Rio residents) and the way we conduct our lives.’
Paes spoke at Rio’s Olympic headquarters after meeting with top members of the International Olympic Committee, who began two days of meetings to examine the city’s readiness to host South America’s first games.
Paes described crime as a social problem in Rio, hoping to distance it from Olympic preparations.
The city was criticized a year ago by a top IOC member who said Rio’s preparations were the ‘worst’ in recent history. Organizers seem to have those preparations back on track, but still face very tight deadlines and rising costs to be ready for the opening on Augus 5, 2016.
According to recent statistics, the state of Rio de Janeiro, which includes the city of Rio, saw a drop in murders in 2012. But homicides began rising again, jumping 21 percent to 4,939 people killed in 2014.
‘Security is an issue for our everyday life,’ Paes said. ‘We had something yesterday at (the lagoon), and I mean we have more than we should.’
Paes highlighted last year’s World Cup, in which at least 150,000 soldiers and police were on duty across the country, as an example of Brazil and Rio’s success in organizing large events and keeping the peace.
‘Rio has a great experience of hosting big events,’ Paes said.
IOC officials in Rio for the scheduled ‘Project Review’ included Nawal El Moutawakel, the head of the inspection team that periodically visits the city, and Christophe Dubi, Olympic Games Executive Director.
They did not make themselves available for comment. MailOnline Travel has contacted the Brazilian Embassy in London for comment, and is awaiting a response.
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