Is Rio de Janeiro Safe? Crime Rates & Safety Report

Updated On November 7, 2023
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Safety Index:
* Based on Research & Crime Data
User Sentiment:
* Rated 53 / 100 based on 33 user reviews.

Rio de Janeiro, the second-largest city in Brazil, has been one of the most popular tourist destinations for decades.

Besides that it has an impressive and memorable sight for visitors from all over the world, it is also very well known for beautiful beaches like Ipanema and Copacabana, the Sugar Loaf Mountain and the overlooking Cristo Redentor on the Corcovado.

Rio is the cultural and economic center of the country, with great museums, art galleries, churches, and shopping malls.

Zona Sul, full of hotels and landmarks, is the area where tourists usually tend to find accommodation during their visit.

Warnings & Dangers in Rio de Janeiro

Overall Risk


According to the score of 43%, Rio de Janeiro is not completely safe city. As in any other tourist destination, tourists need to be very watchful and remain vigilant throughout their whole stay in this incredible city.

Transport & Taxis Risk


While the metro is considered to be safe in Rio and it is highly recommended to use it to travel from one place to another, buses and bus stations are believed to be risky for pickpockets. For your safety as a pedestrian, cross at the crosswalks and do not rely on traffic lights.

Pickpockets Risk


The pickpocket risk in Rio is at a high level since tourists and teenagers are considered easy targets for criminals. Thieves are usually on the beaches or crowded buses and streets. The Centro area is normally safe because there is a police presence. To avoid being the target, you should be attentive and practice common sense.

Natural Disasters Risk


Occasional natural disasters are possible in Rio, like floods and landslides. Torrential rainstorms may cause the mud goes down the mountain and destroy the houses. Some health problems can also happen, such as the recent Zika outbreak.

Mugging Risk


When the risk of mugging and kidnapping is concerned, Rio can be a dangerous city and it is advisable to follow the rules of using your cars instead of public transport at night and not to remain alone in the isolated areas.

Terrorism Risk


There are no terrorist threats in Rio and tourists can sometimes face protests in the city center which is nothing to worry about.

Scams Risk


The beach, the ATMs and streets are the main locations where you can become the victim. As a traveler, you may experience tension over security. Groups of teenagers who try to distract you may be the assistants of the lawbreakers.

Women Travelers Risk


Safety is one of the bigger issues for women travelers to Brazil, considering the reports on violent crimes and Brazil women being assaulted. However, Rio is generally safe for women travelers and they can enjoy their wonderful holiday.

So... How Safe Is Rio de Janeiro Really?

Rio is a frequently visited world destination not only because of its marvelous beaches but also due to its cultural and historical attractions.

Every tourist should experience its breathtaking landscapes and listening to live samba in its bars.

However, every joy has its bad side.

Criminals and drug lords have made the theft the only source of income and thus became dangerous for tourists who are the most common and the easiest prey, in case they are not careful.

As in every city, it is more dangerous at night and to remain safe, tourists need to be attentive to all potential dangers.

Sundays can be dangerous days even during the daytime because the shops do not work and their security guards are not there to protect tourists.

At the beach, a tourist must also be extremely careful and never leave their valuables unattended. to

The area north of the Maracana stadium is also very unsafe, and tourists are not advised to go there.

Nevertheless, due to its spectacular landscape and its annual carnival, Rio is certainly the city which is well worth visiting.

How Does Rio de Janeiro Compare?

CitySafety Index
Rio de Janeiro43
Sao Paulo45
Porto Alegre21
Belo Horizonte48
Buenos Aires (Argentina)60
Montreal (Canada)81
Cordoba (Argentina)61
Santiago de Chile (Chile)71
Melbourne (Australia)80
Hong Kong (China)70

Useful Information



Brazilians apply to their visitors the same rules which are being applied to them, so people from the US must pay 160$ for a visa. On the other hand, many nationalities do not need visas to come to Brazil, in case they decide to stay less than 90 days.



The Brazilian Real is the currency in Brazil and it is very cheap to the US dollar. You need approximately 200 R$ to 300 R$ per day. When exchanging the money, you can find better rates at shops with the sign “Cambios”.



Different regions in Brazil have different climates. Rio has a tropical savanna climate which is characterized by heavy rainfall between December and March. Summers are very hot with temperatures reaching even 40 °C. Rio de Janeiro is warm during the whole year, although the cool breeze sometimes blows from the Atlantic Ocean.



The City of Rio de Janeiro has three major airports: Galeão–Antônio Carlos Jobim International Airport for both international and domestic flights, Santos Dumont Airport for short and domestic flights and Jacarepaguá-Roberto Marinho Airport, located 30km from the city center.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

Since Rio can be very dangerous concerning muggings and theft, travelers are always advised to get travel insurance that covers the loss of private belongings, as well as a medical help.

Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Rio de Janeiro Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 28° C
Feb 29° C
Mar 28° C
Apr 26° C
May 24° C
Jun 23° C
Jul 22° C
Aug 23° C
Sep 24° C
Oct 25° C
Nov 26° C
Dec 27° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

Brazil - Safety by City

CitySafety Index
Belo Horizonte48
Porto Alegre21
Rio de Janeiro43
Sao Paulo45

Where to Next?

33 Reviews on Rio de Janeiro

  1. D
    Daniel K says:

    Highly Wrong Rankings

    My wife has family that lives in Rio and these risks are highly incorrect. Locals are not same anymore. There are road blocks by drug lords in their own neighborhoods. Uber and Lyft drivers (honest working) are being kidnapped or robbed or their vehicle. Then, they are picking up ride requesters and taking them to the flavella’s and robbing them completely. The police department won’t even go there if you have lost your possessions or vehicle. The military is the only group that does raids there. I highly recommend that you rent your own car or have a relative or friend that you know if you plan on visiting. Also, watch out for people tailing you when leaving the airport with your possessions as you can get robbed by motorbikes and traps setup. Police are almost outnumbered and ideally useless.

    Our family have advised us not to visit as the crime is too high and very unsafe in Rio. 3 people in the family have been victims of vehicle takeovers in the last 1 year.

    1. R
      Rio Robles RIchmond says:

      Thank you very much for posting this. I don’t think it’s worth the risk to go there anymore unfortunately then. Too bad!

      1. S
        Spencer McBroom says:

        Fun trips
        I have been to Rio 4 years without any problems. You must stay alert to your surroundings and try to stay beach side when out walking around, if you’re able to hire a driver for the day I highly recommend it.

    2. E
      Eduardo says:

      I am a Brazilan American and I am very much concerned about violence here in the US, we have terrorism, both international and domestic , people kill kids in schools, and houses of worship, there is a law here called “Stand your own ground” that if someone thinks that you might be a fret, you could be shot! And the perpetrator can go free as if t was self defense.
      I live in NYC and I no longer take the subway afraid that I may get killed, by someone with a knife, or they simply push you on to the tracks, that has been happening almost daily here.
      I am not even going to talk about other types of crime, I would have to write an article to explain…
      Is is safer here ?

    3. I was fine in Rio BUT what you speak of hpnd to me in Medellin, Colombia Dec 2023! It was in Uber from airport so I wonder if that uber was stolen….bc I checked the plates! Luckily I made it out okay before anything fully occured (see medellin section for my long detailing of the experience)

      Rioduring 2023 Carnival was the most fun of my life. I went as a solo woman BUT I look local & spoke the language amd dressed like the women… every single person thought I was local! If you stick out I imagine issues. One famous restuarant did add an extra digit to my bill on the terminal but I caught them and brought the mgr! So dont order your uber til you read the receipt and check the terminal!

  2. d
    dates please says:

    dates please

    it would be nice if there were dates on people’s comments.

    1. M
      Melissa says:

      Honestly! Because I’m reading someone comment on high crime in 2022 but was it written yesterday or in 2003? I have no idea

      1. G
        Gabriel cruz says:

        yeah but crime rates are just going up and up every year

  3. Find another place

    Even if you survive the muggings etc the local food will leave you cold.

  4. Dangerous lawless country

    I was shot and mugged on my second visit to Rio. I would never go there again.

    1. B
      Bullshit Detector says:


      Well that story isn’t bullshit….

  5. Thank you for these info. . Guess we have to change plans

  6. A
    Anonymous says:

    Americans don’t need to pay for a visa anymore. We get an automatic 90 day visa upon arrival.

    1. E
      EvilWhiteMan says:

      Great! Now you can get robbed and shot more easily. Fly to Afghanistan for your holidays. Still safer than Brazil.

      1. Recommend Rio

        Oh my God! Why Americans are so crazy when it comes to Brazil?!! I have been there twice, stayed long time, didn’t have any trouble at all! You guys are really paranoid!

        1. Don’t believe this fake “Cloe”

          Said the Brazilian…

  7. S
    Spencer McArthur says:

    Just be careful and you'll probably be fine

    I dont know when this response was written but I’ve lived expat in Brazil for a year now and while this may be true, its generally found in the extremes. if you stay away from the favelas and are able to find safe traveling methods(metro, walking, scooters…) then all should be well. Do be careful with what you are carrying/wearing and who is around you. As long as you’re careful, have common sense, and do your research you can be totally safe.

  8. Pretty safe

    Loved brazil by far my best holiday!! However a gang of women surrounded my then partner and was talking to him asking him to buy certain items while another rooted in his back pocket until I turned around. So please keep your items out of reach and not in back pockets or even front ones, it really is down to common sense. Other than that it was pretty safe, I went of public buses in the day and had no problems but we made to stay indoors at night, only on the odd occasion we left the hotel to go for a evening meal.

  9. R
    Richard says:

    Too much poverty and violence

    Nice beach, ugly weather, seems like city used to be nice 50 years ago but right now is basically a massive slum with some blocks for rich people who move around in helicopter or armored cars and don’t dare to walk around.

    Most of people are simply fat, I expected a better average but in general, they are fat (lot of rice and fried potatoes, not very nice gastronomy, you’ll ended up eating in an argentinean or japanese restaurant for you well being).

    Extremely unsafe I personally witnessed a shooting between police and a gang from my hotel balcony.

    1. Wonderful city

      Ugly weather, fat people, bad food? I wonder where did you walk and stayed there!

      1. Brazilians pretend to be foreigner on this site for self gratification

        70% of Rio is horrid like that and I’m being generous. Stop lying.

    2. Hi there, Can i ask where your hotel was? In which neighborhood or which hotel?

  10. A
    American Tourist says:


  11. Bad

    Horrid city and people but wonderful landscape just stay away from everything man made (works for most of Brazil sadly)

  12. Average at best

    Almost got robbed, rly bad infraestructure. Many fat people around in 2020.

  13. Hello i’m from southern italy and visited Rio 3 times, first time during mid 90s.

    First of all I was expecting a bit of chaotic enviroment pheraps similar to southern Italy where I come from, specially because Ive been told so many times that italians emigrated to Brasil (altough I personally can’t recall of anyone having some relative there in contrast to Argentina where almost everyone knows someone who emigrated there).

    Sadly, city looks way worse than worst parts of Napoli and I expected some improvements after olympics but it looks even worse than the 90s.

    Still a cheap destinations that must be included in any south american trip.

  14. J
    João Victor says:

    Not worth it

    I’m Brazilian myself and I’ve been to Rio 5 times and I would not recommend it. The beaches and landscapes are beautiful but the city itself is a poor crime ridden mess. You’re only truly safe in hotels or gated communities. A trip to Rio is just hardly enjoyable.


  16. G
    Gringoinfavela says:

    Dangerous but if you pay attention you will be fine


    I am a white and blonde, blue eyes gringo and I moved here about 1.5 years ago.

    On the first day I had a gun to my head but it was merely drug dealers protecting their territory and mistaken me for police.

    There was an attempted robbery in Apoador with MANY youths who only dispersed when the police started shooting (in the air).

    However, I feel relatively safe here. I am prepared to lose my stuff and I am aware of my surroundings. I move freely without fear on a very expensive e-bike or motorbike any time of the day in zona sul. Just pay attention.

    Otherwise, I recommend moving into a favela eg in Leme… it is very safe there.
    They are important drug distribution places and the dealers who run the favela protect this at all cost. Violence against foreigners in a zona sul favela is unheard of, we are very welcome there in fact. Gonthere, build a reputation and relax.

    There is a saying: on the asphalt it is helpful to appear local, not stick out in any way.. in a favela however, look as gringo as possible, people will love you for it!

  17. Safety is generally just COMMON SENSE

    Rio is a WONDERFUL city, and safety is generally a matter of common sense. Yes, bad stuff goes on but if you are used to living in any big city and are not from some crime-free village in Switzerland, you will be fine if you pay attention to your surroundings and DRESS DOWN (no jewellery, using phones in the street, cameras on display). Only dress up if going to an expensive restaurant / bar, and get a taxi then.

    Copacabana at night did feel a bit dodgy – I got a taxi then. Ipanema felt safer. The Metro always felt safe, but buses have a bad reputation – I took them in other parts of Brazil with few issues. Surprisingly, I felt safe staying in Centro (the central city, where tourists do not normally stay), and well into late evening it felt safe as long as people were around. Brazilians tend to work very hard and often have more than one job, so there are often people on the street. After midnight, it is less pleasant.

    Rio is one of the most amazing places in the world! Pay attention to local advice (for example, do not hike the trail up to the Christ The Redeemer (Cristo Redemptor) statue), wander into favelas unless you personally REALLY KNOW someone who lives there, and if you are a victim just hand your stuff over. I felt much safer in Brazil than in South Africa, which technically has a similar crime rate. By the way, many of my partners have been Brazilians so I know the country better than many other “gringos”.

  18. I have been in Rio many times and I never saw something bad happening, I just see that in TV’s to be honest, but you should be careful and be aware that it has its risk! Actually I was impressed that I was so worried about my belongings but people were walking in streets using their cellphones and I felt more safe! It’s a very beautiful and nice city people is very receptive but the also warn u to be careful. I think going to Rio worth the risk.

  19. Not as dangerous as they say, but not entirely safe either

    It’s not as bad as some reviews say it is here. Just use your common sense, and Uber wherever you go. You’ll be fine. Don’t wear expensive stuff. You can use your phone while outside, everyone does, just be a little discreet with it. The underground metro is one of the safest places. Metro and Uber, and you will be fine. But if you are scared, Rio is not the place for you. Just use caution and common sense, and you will be fine for the most part.

Rio de Janeiro Rated 2.67 / 5 based on 33 user reviews.

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