With the U.S. Olympic Trials having now concluded, all eyes turn to Rio, with the 2016 Olympic Games opening ceremonies set to kick off just one month from now. As the first day of competition draws near, however, concerns surrounding overall security in the host city of Rio de Janeiro remain.
Last month after an Australian Paralympic sailor and team officials were robbed at gunpoint while training in Rio, Australia’s Chef de Mission, Kitty Chiller, wrote to the Rio organizing committee and mayor demanding increased security.
“We’re demanding that the level of security forces, which number about 100,000, is reviewed and also we are also asking that they are deployed earlier prior to Games time, especially around training and competition venues,” she said at the time.
However, Chiller and the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has reportedly not received a response to this request. “It is disappointing because every day that we don’t get a response means one less day that what we asked for can be in place,” Chiller told reporters this week. Although she is ‘confident’ the venues and immediate surrounding areas will be ‘safe’, she voices concern about other potential dangerous areas.
“The security personnel, there will be 85,000 of them on the road at Games time and I’m confident at Games time that the venues and areas around the venues will be safe,” Chiller said.
“But as you know we have athletes and team members there already. I’m going next week and I would like to know that I can walk the streets being safe from next week.”
It’s not just outside parties who are vocal about the state of security within the Olympic Games host nation. Rio de Janeiro’s own mayor, Eduardo Paes, is quoted as saying the state government has done a ‘terrible job’ in the realm of security.
Speaking to CNN concerning the state police’s ability to handle violent crime, Paes stated, “This is the most serious issue in Rio and the state is doing a terrible, horrible job. “It’s completely failing at its work of policing and taking care of people.”
The police are less than enthusiastic about their duties as of late, citing lack of bonus pay and the outstanding need for basic provisions to tackle rising crime levels. Despite the local situation, Paes remains positive that security will be sufficient during the Games, as the police will be joined by the army and navy.
States Paes, “Fortunately the State will not be responsible for security during that period.”