Are the Rio police as corrupt as their reputation? Where should you go if you are in trouble? Below I have tried to sort this out for you on this page.
The Police Report for the insurance company
Let’s start out with what most people want. If you get robbed and need a police report for your insurance company, go to DEAT – The Tourist Police on Av. Humberto de Campos 315 in Leblon map, open 24h. Phone: 2332-2924. They are specialized in handling foreigner’s problems, they are both fast, reliable and speak English.
The Organization of the Rio Police
Rio de Janeiro being one of the more violent cities in the world, the Rio police are accordingly so as well. Don’t expect a uniformed police to put on his running shoes if he sees you are getting robbed. It’s in my view actually no point in informing the police on the street. If you have been robbed go straight to the above mentioned Tourist Police. If you have other legal issues contact your consulate, they are more likely to be able to help you out.
The Federal Police
This is the FBI of Brazil. You are not very likely to meet them more then at immigration and if you want to prolong your visa. They make good money and for a long time thought to be pretty free of corruption. A few scandals the last few years have proven that to be wrong.
The Civil Police
This is the police force that handle matters like crime investigations. They are quite often involved with scams of tourists. The Tourist Police (DEAT) is a part of the Civil Police but is fairly free of corruption allegations although some incidents have been reported.
The Military Police
The function they have is basically to be enforcers and protectors. Heavily armed they guard the favelas and dangerous street corners, the BOPE troupes actively goes in confrontation with drug dealers. The MP’s are quite often involved in corruption, in general smaller things like excepting bribes for not reporting drug possession.
Or the Peace Police. Wear blue and have no weapons, they are instrumental in the work to get crime out of the favelas. They are picked from a different recruitment base than the ordinary police, this in an effort to create a force with minimal corruption.
You also have highway police (high bribe rate) and others like the unarmed Municipal Guard.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to paint an all black picture. It’s actually these people that many times give their life trying to protect the citizens of Rio, in exchange most get a really bad salary. In a society where the politicians rob more than anyone else can you expect anything else than the police being corrupt?