Crime, transport top Rio Olympic concerns: poll

Rio de Janeiro (AFP) - Most Rio de Janeiro residents think the Olympics next month will be a success, but an overwhelming number worry that violence could ruin the Games, according to a poll Sunday.

The poll published by O Globo newspaper a month before the opening ceremony on August 5 found that 85 percent of city residents see violent crime as a threat to the success of the first Olympics held in South America.

The next biggest threat cited, at 39 percent, was inadequate transport.

Health fears such as the mosquito-carried Zika virus came at the bottom of the list, with only 17 percent thinking this poses a serious threat to the Games.

International health organizations, Brazil and numerous foreign governments warn that Zika, which is believed to have the potential for causing birth defects if pregnant women are infected, should be taken seriously during the Olympics.

Some athletes, notably golf players, have cancelled participation in the Olympics because of Zika fears.

Despite a rise in crime in Rio over the last few months and a budget crisis afflicting the police and public hospitals, the poll found that 61 percent of locals still think the Olympics will be a success. However, 27 percent foresee a failure.

The poll was carried out by Sesc RJ, a non-profit that promotes culture, and by the research group FGV Projetos.