By Brian Holland
With the 2016 Olympics being a prime target for acts of terrorism, police forces and security personnel had to be adequately prepared for any adverse act that may have arisen. Ever since the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City, security on a global scale has increased their efforts in order to protect citizens. With the Olympic games being the epicenter of attention during its three weeks in the media, security had to be at the forefront of surveillance and safety.
Brazil Prepares to Host the Olympics
“We plan to send at least 80,000 security personnel into the streets of Rio during the games, which is double the number deployed in London in 2012”, states the Secretary of Security for the state of Rio de Janeiro, José Mariano Beltrame [source]. Indeed they did. This was the largest-ever deployment of security staff for a mega event in the country's history. Although Brazil is deemed as a low-threat country, the threat of an attack is always imminent and guards were on full standby, ready for anything to happen. Brazilian soldiers stood guard outside the Rio Olympic Park while police officers administered security screening checks for the games in an effort to assist in safeguarding the field. This included X-ray machines as well as the patting down of attendees, ensuring they did not bring in any weapons or other contraband. In an effort to be as assured as possible, additional personnel was hired for supplementary safety purposes and relief.
Olympic Security Heightened at Major Checkpoints and Barriers
Fears of an attack during the Olympics were high, especially since the whole world was watching. Civil institutions, private security staffing firms, and airports sending flights into the region all had to coordinate and work together to deter would-be attackers. The strong security presence during the Olympic games put to rest worries that visitors and athletes may have had in regard to a potential attack. If an incident were to happen, Brazil was prepared for it. In light of the recent attacks in Nice, France, shortly before the debut of the Olympics, Brazil police forces realized they had to up their measures. Through reviewing procedures, creating more hefty barriers, and installing ample spot-checks on roadblocks and checkpoints, Brazil was not taking the potential of a threat lightly [source].
Brazil adjusted its security after news of potential threats and suspicion about a possible attack on the nation during the Olympic games. Heightened checkpoints, barriers, and traffic restrictions throughout the city meant everyone was under a bird's eye view and officers were regulating each and every person's movement, as it was necessary protocol. Soldiers that were part of The National Force stood guard at the Rio International airport in Rio de Janeiro, monitoring everyday interactions and interpreting individuals movements in an effort to detect terrorists before they had an opportunity to attack. Every single international visitor who landed at that airport for the duration of the Olympic games, had their luggage inspected and were searched twice. This would give peace of mind to athletes and attendees alike, that the games would be safe to attend. Tourist landmarks were heavily patrolled with security personnel as well, to ensure the safety of visitors and to regulate activity. Authorities partook in extensive security exercises and introduced new security measures in an effort to keep citizens safe and out of harm's way.
To be fair, Brazil ranks low on the Global Terrorism Index, a measure of a country’s threat to terrorists [source]. Even so, no expense was spared to keep the 500,000 visitors that flew into the country during Rio safe and sound. Amid concerns about other forms of unrest, including petty crime and violent protests, the government of Brazil offered a show of force by deploying a security force of over 85,000 armed personnel, which succeeded in keeping guests, athletes, and foreign dignitaries safe [source].
Meet the Author
Brian Holland is the President of Point Security Inc., a certified small business with over twenty-five years of experience providing sales and service of security screening equipment throughout the United States and the Caribbean. He enjoys educating individuals on ways they can better secure their facility. For more information please contact Point Security Inc.