Brazil: Staying safe at the 2014 World Cup

The 2014 football World Cup will be held in Brazil from 12 June to 13 July. The tournament will be contested between 32 national teams and will see a total of 64 matches played in 12 host cities.

Security risks

Persons travelling to the tournament should be aware of the security threats in Brazil. All the host cities tabled above are assessed to be high-risk destinations. The greatest concern facing travellers is crime. Incidents of petty crime are common throughout these urban centres. Criminals may take advantage of the anonymity of large crowds to conduct their activities at matches, other events linked to the tournament and popular tourist areas. Violent crime is an established security issue in World Cup host cities. Although most instances of violent crime affect locals in lower-income favela areas, red24 is aware of several incidents that have involved foreign nationals elsewhere in host cities in recent months.

A further concern pertains to short-term express kidnapping. This form of kidnapping involves victims being held for a short duration while they are forced to withdraw money or hand over PIN details so that money can be withdrawn from ATMs; in other cases, they are held while being relieved of other possessions. Significantly, express kidnappings are equally likely to take place in affluent areas as in lower-income areas. Although the use of bogus taxis or rogue taxi drivers is a primary modus operandi of express kidnappers, incidents are also perpetrated near outdoor ATMs. There is a lesser threat of traditional kidnapping for ransom. Most cases of this longer form of kidnapping involve locals; the number of foreign nationals in the country on short-term visits that have been kidnapped is assessed to have decreased significantly in recent years. Nevertheless, the risk does extend to non-Brazilians; appropriate security protocols should be established to minimise the risk.

Sporadic demonstrations over socio-economic and labour concerns have been affecting Brazil since June 2013. The largest of these protest campaigns corresponded with the Confederations Cup football tournament, which took place between 15 and 30 June 2013. It is anticipated that there will be an attempt on the part of protest movement organisers to use the added media attention of the World Cup to highlight their respective causes. These groups have already indicated their intention to disrupt the tournament if their demands are not met. Gatherings will likely be planned in areas that allow for maximum exposure; these include sites associated with the World Cup, including in the vicinity of stadiums. Demonstrations have the potential to turn violent, as they are often infiltrated by disruptive elements, such as members of the anarchist Black Bloc.

The risk of terrorism in Brazil is low. There are no notable terrorist groups currently active in the country, nor has red24 received any information or intelligence to suggest that terrorist attacks are being arranged or planned; however, the risk of an incursion during a major international tournament such as the World Cup cannot be discounted. Any potential targets are likely to be symbolic and associated with the tournament.


red24 service capabilities

red24 has experience assisting clients in managing their risk during international sporting tournaments, including the London 2012 Olympics and Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. Our services include the creation of crisis management plans, facilitating security escorts, check-in and alert services, and hostile environment awareness courses. Our products and services are provided by a range of experts and facilitated through our 24/7 Crisis Response Management Centre.

We recommend that you clarify what support services are available to you via your insurance or your travel provider prior to departure. If you feel that there are any significant gaps in the support that you hope to receive in the event of a serious travel-related incident, please contact us. We have the capabilities to provide versatile, cost-effective solutions for both individuals and groups travelling to the 2014 World Cup.

Should you be interested in making use of any of these services for travel to Brazil, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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