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Crime in Rio Gets Even Worse, Just in Time for the Olympics

  • Muggings rose 14 percent city-wide from January to May
  • Athletes from Spain, Australia have been mugged at gunpoint
Police watch as a new Light Rail passes by in Rio, on June 5, 2016.

Police watch as a new Light Rail passes by in Rio, on June 5, 2016.

Photographer: Mario Tama/Getty Images
Updated on

Brazil’s list of pre-Olympic woes is getting longer. In addition to a political system in chaos, an economy in crippling recession and a public health crisis around Zika virus, new data suggests petty crime in Rio de Janeiro is on the rise.

Muggings rose 14 percent city-wide from January to May, according to the most recent data. In parts of the city, it’s been much worse: The region that includes downtown business district is reporting a 26 percent increase in street crime. In and around the Copacabana beach area, it’s up 44 percent.