By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – In the last ten days 58 hikers have been robbed on the 3.8 kilometer trail that leads from Parque Lage to Corcovado and Christ the Redeemer. According to a report by a local news outlet, the situation led authorities to temporarily close the trail.
The head of the Special Delegate of Support to the Tourist (DEAT), Valéria Aragão, defended the measure to representatives of the Tijuca National Park (PNT).
She believes that the site should only be reopened after the contracting of MPs (Polícia Militar or Military Police) by the State Integration Program (PROEIS). “I do not recommend that this trail be used. I suggest, yes, your temporary closure,” she said.
“I have a meeting this week with the park to deal with this officially. We have already pointed out the vulnerabilities.” Aragão explained. “I have been involved in this trail for months and we have made very positive progress from the point of view of research.”
“Ostensible patrolling in the region will never be efficient because human resources in the security forces are overwhelmingly under-resourced,” Valeria concluded. This will be a hard case to make in the midst of the states worst economic crisis in recent memory.
The number of assaults is so great that volunteers nailed posters to trees, with the image of a gun, warning of the risk. In English, they warn that more than 150 people were robbed in the area between January and June. In Portuguese, they also advise: “Be cautious. Do not risk your life”.
American-Brazilian Evan Farr, of the Jinga Experience adventure tourism company shares, “Unfortunately the Corcovado Hike has recently suffered from these incidents. It is a shame to see this happen to such a great Rio experience.”
He explains, “The reality is, it is known that most people hiking the Corcovado trail will be carrying valuables because the summit is Christ the Redeemer, so the hikers become targets.”
Farr adds, “The trails that are least likely for trouble are the more difficult to access, for example the trails deepest into the Tijuca Forest like Pico da Tijuca and Bico de Papagaio, hikes further away from downtown like Telegrafo and Pedra da Tartaruga, and also the community aspect protecting the Dois Irmãos trail seems to keep it the safest in the city.”