Inequality? Whatever. It’s all about tourism dollars:
Relephant read: Brazil Police warn visitors, ‘Don’t scream if robbed’ (bbc.com)
From Reddit: “I went to Rio many years ago, and clearly nothing’s changed. I was with a group that had a “guide” who basically turned out to be a security guard. We couldn’t go anywhere alone. He was appalled that we wanted to go to the beach on our own; he begged us not to bring anything but a towel, not even a plastic watch! On the way there we noticed the cab driver never stopped at red lights. The lifeguards were packing heat and gangs of the “Guardian Angels” patrolled the beach. He took us to a shopping area and I observed him paying someone to watch his car on the street so it wouldn’t be stolen or vandalized. We went to a club and all the patrons had their pop-out car radios in hand because otherwise they would be stolen out of their cars. Initially, we thought he was incredibly paranoid, but soon it dawned on us that this was a way of life in Brazil. Constantly looking around for danger, never having nice stuff in public (even the cheapest tote bag was considered a nice accessory), and never being alone in public, especially as a tourist. Our guide was employed by a tour company to ensure tourists weren’t targets, but I realized that by virtue of having a decent job/car/home, he too was in danger everyday. Beautiful place, scary as hell.