Last night a 25 yr old University student was shot while waiting for a bus on Praia de Flamengo (Flamengo beach). This is a scary fact of life here, many criminals carry guns.
From what Globo says, a man got out of a black Peugeot and tried to steal her purse. She ran and he shot her in the back. The shot exited through her abdomen. Jéssica Fabiano Barros is currently in the hospital under observation.
People, if you are in Rio de Janeiro and someone tries to steal your purse, give it to them. Actually, if someone tries to steal your purse anywhere you just give it to them. Whatever you have in there is not worth getting shot, stabbed, or attacked. Yes, even Grandma would understand if you gave over her old diamonds.
None-the-less, an innocent girl is in the hospital because she was at the wrong place at the wrong time.
The article also states that another woman was robbed by the same pair before Jessica. Everything has been reported to the police.
A friend and I were discussing how this kind of thing happens in all big citites but in Rio de Janeiro it is international news. Of course with the games coming, the entire world is watching what is happening down here. But I wonder if the reaction to Rio de Janeiro crime would be different if it were reported internationally every time someone was shot in Baltimore or New York City for example.
Don't get me wrong, I am not defending the behavior of these criminals. This is horribly sad and those men need to be punished! But this does bring to mind some tips for avoiding situations like this.
1. Don't wait in isolated areas for buses at night. Jessica was on Praia de Flamengo at 9pm. While not necessarily empty and isolated, it's an area without significant pedestrian traffic at night. Unfortunately, it is also one of the best place to get quick buses to certain areas of the city. Being a well let area with plenty of buses going buy, most wouldn't think twice about waiting there.
2. Hand over your stuff. Screw the passport, money, credit cards, and photos of nieces and nephews. Don't even ask them to have a private moment to say goodbye to your iphone, just hand it over.
3. If you should get robbed, report it to the police. While it may not lead to anything, it is an important step in the process of raising the level of security in Rio.
4. When in doubt take a cab. Again, not easy on the pocketbook but sometimes that's just what one needs to do.
5. Travel in groups. Find someone going the same way as you or at least also catching a bus. That way you don't have to wait alone.
That's all the tips pouring out of my head at the moment. What would you add?
And Jessica, I wish you a speedy recovery!