"If one looks at the absolute numbers, such as the number of homicides, one will conclude that Rio is not a safe city at all. But this is not really the case. Crime in Rio has a very distinct geographic distribution, with some areas being safer than Belgium and others being very dangerous. Fortunately for tourists, the safe areas tend to be those that contain the attractions, like the Zona Sul. The only real advice I would give is this: Stay clear of the local police unless you are really in trouble. And even in such cases, it’s better to go to the specialized tourist police."
—José Padilha, director of the Elite Squad films, which chronicle favela violence and official corruption