World Cup: Chief news reporter Bryan Swanson reports on Rio safety issues
Chief news reporter Bryan Swanson reports from Rio de Janeiro on the city's safety, security and accommodation issues.
By Bryan Swanson
Last Updated: 03/12/13 6:16am
On the streets of Rio de Janeiro, armed police are on patrol. When England players book into their hotel they can enjoy views of Copacabana beach but some views overlook the notorious Rochina, the largest favela (shanty town) in Brazil, where gunfire can be heard at night.
In 2010, armed bandits on the run from the police came from the hills, down to the hotel lobby and took 30 guests hostage.
The bandits were arrested and three years on, the police are battling to keep control of the area.
"It's safe, it's safe, especially during big events here," Colonel Paulo Borges Caldas of the Rio Military Police told sky Sports News.
"We don't have many problems in terms of drug dealers and bad guys in this hotel as we have had in the past."
But Caldas would not go as far as guaranteeing the safety of England players.
"Nobody can guarantee. Wherever you go you can have problems but we have a safe city and a safe event, that is why we remain confident about it," he added.
Roy Hodgson and a Football Association delegation will make a routine visit to the hotel ahead of Friday's draw.
The FA say they have an excellent track record of delivering excellent facilities in tournaments.
The government's top official, who supports British nationals abroad, believes the England base will be safe.
"There is now a much stronger police presence within there. I think Rio is a great place to be," said British Consul General Paula Walsh.
"We use that hotel and I know the FA security people have been out here and I am sure they will be taking all the necessary precautions."
Another big issue here is the safety and security of supporters. With many beachfront hotels fully booked, England fans will have to stay in some of the less glamorous parts of this city.
The Babilonia Rio Hostel still offers beds for less than £40 per person, per night in June. In an area near Copacabana once run by drugs gangs, the police are back in charge.
Homes have been changed into hostels to provide more affordable accommodation for football fans.
"English people are booking with us and I think it will be OK, I think they will like it," said Julie Ladvocat.
Elsewhere, closer to the Maracana Stadium, a basic room is available online for £500 on the night of the city's first group game.
Rio will be a base for many supporters and for some it will be a budget-busting World Cup.
Sky Sports will bring you all of the news from the World Cup draw in Brazil live on Friday from 4pm