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Rio's beautiful beaches are a haven for petty thieves and bag-snatchers who routinely operate on the shore, but a more frightening type of crime has emerged.
Huge gangs of young thieves swoop onto a beach, rushing through crowds stealing bags and ripping jewelry from bather's necks. The experience is frightening and usually causes panic among beach-goers as they try to escape the drag net.
The arrastoes (Portugese for big drag) used to be common years back, but disappeared when conditions in the favelas (slums) were improved. Watch this video to see it happening on Ipanema beach in 2015. Scores of people were robbed, and there was a huge panic among the crowd.
Copacabana is the most well-known beach in Rio, but the local favorites Ipanema and Leblon are growing in popularity among travelers. The water isn't particularly clean, especially around the channel at Leblon.
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