If you are planning to go to the games of the World Cup competition next summer in Brazil, there are a few things you need to be prepared for. This goes beyond the normal understanding of general security awareness measures. You have to start with an understanding of how and why people will be targeted. Many Latin American countries while beautiful can be dangerous places. Brazil is no exception even though they have been preparing for these games. Violent street crime is an increasing problem as are the activities of Transnational Crime Organizations (TCO’s). The proper approach to your security during these games will have to do primarily with your personal circumstances and the length of your stay.
Short-term visitors to Brazil need to focus on how not to become an attractive target of opportunity. Remember that perception is reality to the street criminal looking for an easy mark. Foreigners seeming to be confused or tentative, and appearing to have some wealth, are their targets. Wealth being a relative term – just wearing nice clothes or a fancy watch could be all that is necessary to establish your value to them. (Your presence at any of these events alone might mark you as someone of means.) Then they will observe your level of awareness. Those two factors are going to decide their actions towards you. Whether you are at the airport or hotel, on the street, or at one of the events, if you move about with a very low key, alert and prepared demeanor, wearing simple attire and limited or no jewelry then you will probably not be selected for assault. However, just trusting to blend in and being alert is not the best plan for this high profile event.
The World Cup events will bring thousands of people into the country and there will be an increase in criminal activity that goes along with the excitement and revenue brought by the games. Do some homework and make some plans for where you are going, who will meet you, and how you will recognize them. This will help you avoid that ‘lost or confused’ appearance. Arranging for a security driver is a great way of assuring this. Not a limousine but a simple sedan or van driven by someone who knows the area and can keep you out of dangerous locations. Also, remember that these services will be booked up early, so reserve the service you will need by January or February of 2014. Otherwise you may get stuck with someone who is not qualified at the last minute. When walking, remain alert for approaches towards you and respond assertively. This will communicate that you are not going to be an easy target. Potential assailants will choose someone who appears to have valuables or lots of cash and who also looks easier to catch off guard.
More extended stays bring another element into play. This affords the chance to study you over a longer period of time to assess your possible value as a kidnap or extortion target. Conducting yourself in a low key manner is still important but now you have to be observant for repeats of people or vehicles that seem to keep popping up around you during your day. This is probably criminal surveillance. They often study several possible kidnap or extortion targets and pick the one that offers the most value at the least risk. It will take some discipline and training for you to counter this by avoiding patterns of time or travel routes. This will make you harder to study. This alone could remove you from their list of possible targets. A security driver is again a great option or you could learn surveillance recognition techniques yourself. It is not that hard. Busy, distracted business executives are however encouraged to take advantage of a security driver because practicing designed randomness and surveillance detection takes mental concentration. This level of attention to detail and observation is difficult to practice when your daily focus might be on your business, your family members, and your enjoyment of the games.
This brief discussion is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to avoiding becoming a part of the increasingly disturbing crime statistics of Latin American countries. For more detailed information check out some of the online training courses available at www.imac-training.com or visit our website to review our service capabilities in LATAM at www.afimacglobal.com