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Brazilian woman mugged on live TV while being interviewed about high crime rate

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A Brazilian woman has been mugged on live TV while giving an interview about the high crime rate in Rio de Janeiro.

In an act of supreme irony, the unnamed woman was attacked from behind as she spoke to reporters at RJTV about the lack of police presence in the area and her fear of the rampant crime in the city.

The brazen would-be thief attempted to snatch the woman's necklace from around her neck, but succeeded only in breaking the chain.

The RJTV interviewer tried to chase down the assailant, but the petty criminal fled into oncoming traffic and got away.

Rio is well known for its high crime rate, which is spiking despite authorities' attempts to get a handle on street crime before tourists arrive for the World Cup in June.

Homicides rose 10 percent to 1,323 last year after falling to their lowest rate in two decades in 2012, and three police officers have been killed so far in 2014 while on duty in the city's notorious favelas, or shantytowns.

Police report that cellphone robberies have increased 121 percent since last year, while robberies on buses have jumped by 118 percent.

A recent news story warned that criminals have been duplicating tourist debit cards at Rio's international airport, compromising 14 ATM machines.

The spiking crime rate is not for a lack of effort on the part of law enforcement - authorities have introduced an aggressive policing program called pacification, which involves specially trained police units clamping down on crime in the city's shantytowns.

Several shootouts have taken place between drug gangs and law enforcement officials in these areas.

"It's really difficult [here in Rio]; the population is at the mercy of the criminals [and] we need more people to help us here," a second interviewee told RJTV after the attempted jewelry theft.