A senior figure in the organising committee of the Rio 2016 Olympics believes the city has to do more to convince potential visitors it is a safe destination for tourists.
The crime rate in Rio de Janeiro is falling but from a high point and Leo Gryner, chief operating officer of Rio 2016, accepts there is still work to be done in transforming the city’s image.
“The crime rate has decreased since 2008 by half,” said Gryner. “It has been cut by half in the city. Last week it came out in the city of Rio [crime] went down by almost another 10 per cent. It is still going down and down. Yes [work needs to be done]. There is a perception [about Rio] that is spread all over the world. People need to know the streets are safe to walk.”
The fall in crime is linked to efforts by city authorities to regain control of the favelas. The murder rate has fallen as has crime in general. Last year a report by the US State Department acknowledged “significant progress made in reducing Rio de Janeiro’s legendary, critical crime rates” but also said the chance of being robbed in the street remained high even in “affluent neighbourhoods”.