Advance Reconnaissance prevents Crisis in Brazil
Advance Reconnaisance prevents Crisis in Brazil
Rio de Janeiro is well known for its natural wonders, including its famous beaches, the panoramic Corcovado and Sugarloaf Mountain, with its glass-walled cable car. The city is also one of the major business centers of Brazil. Visitors to its downtown area, which compares in size and scope to other major metropolitan centers across the globe, navigate streets where historical landmarks sit next to cutting-edge, modern office buildings.
Unfortunately, downtown Rio suffers from a high number of street crimes—many of them quite violent. This situation can be catalyzed or aggravated by the city’s never-ending traffic jams and public demonstrations.
Earlier this year, a client requested that Control Risks provide security support for two C-level executives travelling to Rio de Janeiro on business.
Control Risks’ executive protection services rely heavily on prevention; as part of our standard procedure, we conducted a risk assessment of all security aspects related to the business trip and requested the client’s approval to carry out advance reconnaissance of the venues to be visited. Our advance reconnaissance services typically involve running and analyzing routes, visiting meeting venues, confirming addresses, checking the security in place and assessing the access points for pedestrians and vehicles.
In this case, after consulting with our local protective services team, our client was somewhat reluctant to approve the advance reconnaissance; the reluctance was primarily due to budget constraints but also our client’s belief that, because most of the meeting venues were located downtown, the travel would be fairly straightforward. Control Risks explained why we recommend reconnaissance in Rio so strongly: in addition to the fact that the security situation can vary day to day, it is extremely common for buildings in the area to have dedicated access points for pedestrians and vehicles located at different parts of the building, or even different addresses entirely. Convinced, the client agreed to the advanced reconnaissance.
On the last day of the visit, while the executives were in a meeting, Control Risks detected that an unscheduled demonstration was developing in close proximity to the meeting venue. The demonstration had the potential to expose the executives to additional security risks and there were also concerns that it would block their primary route to the airport.
At this point, Control Risks rapidly assessed the situation and advised the client that an alternate egress point and secondary route to the airport should be taken. Our on-site security team, remotely assisted by our office-based monitoring team, moved the executives’ transportation to a more secure waiting area (which we had pre-identified during the reconnaissance) and continued to monitor the status of the secondary route.
When the executives were ready to leave their meeting location, the security team took them to an alternate pedestrian access point, avoiding unnecessary exposure to the demonstration. The security team escorted the executives on the two-block walk to ensure they arrived at their transportation without incident. Our advance reconnaissance of potential routes and real-time continuous monitoring ensured that the executives arrived at the airport safely and on time for their flight.
Relying on historical, and potentially outdated, information when planning a security task, especially in areas with complex and dynamic security environments, can turn a seemingly typical business trip into a potential crisis where a key executive could be hurt or injured. The importance of reconnaissance in an executive protection task cannot be overemphasized. Cities are like living organisms that are constantly evolving; what is there today might not be there tomorrow.