Travel: So You Think Your City's Got Crime?

Rio de Janeiro offers fun in the sun, but a rising tide of lawlessness has brought fear to the festive atmosphere

If honor is to be found among thieves, "Kavera" is a young man of some principle. "We only attack men," says the mugger, 22. "Never Brazilians, never old people and women." It is after midnight in Rio de Janeiro, and his gang of street thieves is eyeing potential targets. "Women yell too much and become hysterical," Kavera explains, "and old people can suffer heart attacks, and we don't want to kill anybody." He is willing to make exceptions, though. The last man he killed was a beggar who was trying to rape a three-year-old homeless girl. "Luiz poured gasoline on him,"...

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