Security at Rio’s Olympic Village was handed a further blow Wednesday when Danish athletes revealed they have had items stolen while organisers issued a public apology to competitors who have fallen victim to crime.
Denmark’s chef de mission Morten Rodtwitt told broadcaster TV 2 that mobile phones, clothing and an iPad had gone missing.
“In connection with the many extra workers, cleaners and housekeepers who have been squeezed into the Olympic village because of our requirements and requests, we have been subjected to a series of thefts,” he said, adding that he himself had his iPad stolen.
“It’s everything from phones, iPads and clothes to something as trivial as bed sheets.”
Since July 18 the Danish delegation has lodged around 150 complaints over problems in its 36 apartments in the Olympic village.
“The buildings are simply not in order,” Ulrik Wilbek, sports director of the Danish Handball Federation, told TV 2.
The news follows the theft of a laptop and team shirts from the Australian delegation during a fire evacuation on Friday. Australia chef de mission Kitty Chiller said during the evacuation she had noticed three fire marshals apparently stealing the Australia team shirts.
“When I arrived, which was halfway through the evacuation, I saw three fire marshals — I don’t know who they were — walking out with team shirts,” she said.
“I thought maybe they have helped evacuate people and we’ve given them a shirt. It doesn’t seem to be what happened.
“We don’t know how many team shirts were taken and, yes, that’s concerning.”
After the fire, Chiller said Rio 2016 organizers had increased security throughout the Olympic village. Rio’s crime rate has been one of the biggest concerns heading into the Olympics.
China revealed on Friday members of its Olympic delegation had already fallen victim to theft. Mario Andrada, spokesman of Rio 2016, apologized to the tourists and athletes who have been victims.
“They are our guests in Brazil. We feel very sorry. I hope they understand that we are very sorry about this,” he told China’s Xinhua news agency.
“We will communicate with the security to make sure we find quickly an answer about why they were robbed, where they were robbed and by whom to see if something could be recovered.”
Rio Olympics’ overall security personnel is around 88,000 — the figure is more than double that used for the the London Olympics in 2012.
“Don’t count money in the street. If you have a nice camera, put it into a bag and only use when you have to take pictures,” advised Andrada.
“If you are alert, if you are looking around and paying attention, your chance of being a victim will be decreased. The bad guys usually look for people who are not paying attention.”
Chiller said the vast size of the Olympic Village, which houses thousands of athletes and support staff, theft was “inevitable”.