The Sao Paulo police are distributing a pamphlet for tourists coming to the country for the World Cup next month and presumably those who will be coming for the next Olympics. The police strongly encourage people not to “react, scream or argue” because that will only make robbers angry or nervous and push them to greater acts of violence. It is probably sound advice but the optics are not great for a country accused of rampant corruption and abuse in the police forces as well as runaway crime.
Brazil is being widely criticized for pollution and crime and corruption in preparation for the World Cup and the Olympics. Many feel the country bit off more than it could chew in grabbing the games. I personally experienced the corruption of the Sao Paulo police when officers tried to shake me down for a bribe years ago after I spoke at a United Nations conference.
The pamphlet warned tourists of the risk of “latrocinios” – or robbery that ends in murder. The police fear that Americans and Europeans who are not used to so much crime will react and cause more problems. The key is to be passive and silent while being robbed. One police officer, Mario Leite, sis quoted as saying “There is no use crying over spilt milk.” In other words, better spilt milk than spilt blood.