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11 Jun, 2014

Theft and Labour Disruption Main Risks to World Cup Host Cities – IHS Report

LONDON–(BUSINESS WIRE) – June 08, 2014 – Today, IHS Inc. (NYSE: IHS), a global source of critical information and insight, released findings from its study on security risks for each of Brazil’s 12 World Cup host cities. The Latin America Country Risk team at IHS identified theft and disruption due to labour unrest as the two main risks for visitors.

The study examined physical risks to visitors across the violent risk spectrum (including murder rates, armed robberies, historical crime data, previous social protests and strike action) as well as potential infrastructure and transport constraints. It also evaluated the broader political and business environment in which the tournament will take place.(Graphic: Business Wire)

Brazil’s World Cup security budget five times South Africa’s

Significantly, the study observed that Brazil’s World Cup security budget is approximately five times the size of South Africa’s when it hosted the games. Approximately US$840 million will be spent on securing the games and around 170,000 security personnel will be deployed. According to Brazil’s security agency for major events, Brazil will spend US$520 million in the provision of security for the World Cup; to this must be added additional US$320 million allocated to the armed forces, which has been tasked with special operations for border protection. South Africa spent about US$175 million in security provision during the 2010 World Cup.

“While it is more expensive to operate in Brazil than South Africa, the Brazilian authorities have invested heavily on security and defence equipment to combat a wide range of challenges across the 12 host cities,” said Laurence Allan, Ph.D., head of Latin America country risk analysis at IHS.

Labour unrest becomes government’s main headache

“Labour unions and the threat of strike action has become the Brazilian government’s main headache,” Carlos Caicedo, principal Latin America analyst at IHS Country Risk said. “Previously, social unrest was thought to be the main potential disruptor of the games, but unions will play the role of disruptor alongside the World Cup,” Caicedo said.

In January 2014, rubbish collectors in Rio de Janeiro went on strike and received a 30 percent salary increase. “Since then, we have seen federal government employees, bus and train drivers, teachers and other essential labour groups threaten strike action,” Caicedo said.

Risk breakdown by city

Risk varies widely both between and within each of the host cities. But, overall, the main concern across the 12 host cities is street crime.

In general terms, cities in the northeast – Fortaleza, Salvador, Recife – show high rates of theft and armed robbery, whilst cities including Manaus, Curitiba, Cuiabá, and Porto Alegre have lower risk levels in that respect.

“The risk to visitors traveling to host cities can be grouped into three categories: cities with a high risk of theft; a high risk of theft and disruption from protests; and those with a lower risk of theft and disruption. The cities are roughly split between all three categories,” Allan said.

Cities with a high risk of theft

Fortaleza will host World Cup matches for countries such as Brazil, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Mexico and Uruguay. Fortaleza is the seventh most dangerous city in the world, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and visitors are likely to face a significant risk of theft. Some hotels and tourism areas are located in districts considered hotspots for crime. As in other host cities, an integrated command and control centre has been set up, which brings together the federal, state, and municipal police in order to coordinate the response to security incidents during the tournament. Regarding social unrest, Fortaleza has also experienced anti-World Cup protests, as well as demonstrations against corruption and poor public services.

Porto Alegre will host World Cup matches for countries such as Argentina, Australia, France, the Netherlands and Nigeria. The most likely risks facing visitors to Porto Alegre are thefts and violent robberies. Due to the close proximity and ease of travel from Argentina to southern Brazil, and Argentina’s troubled history of football hooliganism, there is a significant risk of football hooliganism. During the tournament, more than 5,500 military police will be deployed along with National Security Force guards to mitigate crime risks to visitors.

Salvador will host World Cup matches for countries such as Spain, Germany, Switzerland, France, Netherlands and Portugal. The carnival in Salvador is infamous for street fighting and muggings, and there is a risk of similar incidents taking place during the World Cup. The local government is likely to step up security to mitigate theft risks, but it plans to use the same methods adopted during last March’s carnival. During that event, an average of 118.2 violent incidents was reported each day.

Cities with a high risk of theft and social/labour protests

Belo Horizonte will host games for countries such as Argentina, Iran, Costa Rica and England as well as a semi-final. World Cup visitors are likely to encounter theft risks, given that some of the hotels located within the city centre are in places where there have been reports of armed theft. The local and central governments are stepping up their anti-crime efforts with the objective of mitigating these risks. Although measures will likely reduce crime, there is a risk of disruption due to anti-World Cup protests.

Natal will host World Cup games for countries such as USA, Italy, Uruguay, Japan and Ghana and is a major destination for tourists visiting Brazil’s northeast. The most likely risk factors facing visitors are thefts and violent robberies of personal possessions and cars. There is also a high probability of anti-World Cup protests. Protests have been scheduled for June 6, 16 and 19 in Natal. A heavy security presence in areas frequented by visitors will mitigate risks of violent crime, but social protests could cause disruption on match days.

Recife will host World Cup matches for countries such as Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico and the United States. General levels of criminality in Recife are above the national average and social unrest and rioting relating to discontent over the World Cup has increased markedly since early 2013. Policing has made some gains in Recife thanks to the Pact for Life security programme, but the risk of disruptive civil unrest remains high.

Rio de Janeiro will host World Cup matches for countries such as Belgium, Chile, Spain, France and Russia, as well as the final on 13 July. A ‘fan fest’ on Copacabana beach with live broadcasts of all the games will also take place in Rio. Thefts and violent robberies are the most likely risk factors facing travelers. The state government is introducing a series of security measures in an effort to reduce rising crime levels and curb civil unrest.

São Paulo will host at least six matches including the opening fixture on 12 June and one semi-final. The primary risk to visitors in São Paulo is theft. The rate of street robbery has been increasing in 2014, and there is a slight risk of street assault, particularly near the hotel district in the city centre. There is a high likelihood of disruptive social protest with associated vandalism during the World Cup, although protests are likely to be smaller than those in June 2013.

Cities with a lower risk of theft and disruption

Brasília will host World Cup matches for countries such as Switzerland, Ecuador, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Brazil, Portugal and Ghana. Brasília is one of Brazil’s safer cities, particularly its central areas. As the seat of government, the authorities are accustomed to handling major events and dealing with protests, and the city has strong infrastructure by national standards. With a relatively low crime rate in the city itself, the main risks to visitors are likely to come from disruption due to potential protests on match days and opportunistic street crime.

Cuiabá will host World Cup games for countries such as Australia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Chile, Colombia, Japan, Nigeria, Russia and South Korea. The main risk for visitors is severe transit delays in mobility through the city due to serious infrastructure bottlenecks in airport and urban transportation. Although incidents of criminality have risen over the last three years, Cuiabá is relatively safe compared with cities afflicted by high crime rates, such as Salvador, in Brazil’s northeast. The risk of social unrest affecting the World Cup in Cuiabá is much lower than in other Brazilian host cities. During the June 2013 protests, Cuiabá was notable for low levels of social unrest.

Curitiba will host World Cup games for countries such as Algeria, Australia, Ecuador, Honduras, Iran, Nigeria, Russia and Spain. World Cup security will be very tight in Curitiba and visitors are likely to be safe walking around the city. Curitiba is an international reference for innovative urban planning and is one of the country’s richest cities. The main risk to visitors to Curitiba is transport delays.

Manaus will host World Cup matches for countries such as England, Italy, Cameroon, Croatia, the United States, Portugal, Honduras and Switzerland. Authorities and security forces have demonstrated their capacity to operate effectively against violent crime and to police social protest. That capacity will be significantly boosted by extra World Cup policing. Manaus is an important regional transport hub situated in the interior of the Amazon rainforest.

Security lessons from Confederation Cup mitigate risks

“Social protests are certain to occur in many of the host cities, but are likely to be on a far smaller scale than those seen last year during the 2013 Confederation Cup,” Allan said. “The Brazilian authorities have learned lessons from that experience. They have set up command and control centres across the 12 host cities and will be able to flood areas with security personnel if needed.”

However, organisers remain able to co-ordinate simultaneous demonstrations in several state capitals, and Black Bloc anarchist activists have fought with the police and dominated headlines in recent media coverage of the protests throughout 2013 and early 2014,” Allan said. “If Brazilian security forces overreact, then we would see a risk that protests would escalate, as they did in 2013.”

To get a copy of these studies

To inquire about obtaining IHS studies on security risks for each of Brazil’s 12 World Cup host cities, please contact Dyene Galantini at dyene.galantini@ihs.com.

About IHS (www.ihs.com)