If you were to mention in North America that you were going to Argentina, most people would ask “Is it safe?” Or they will talk about how they heard people are kidnapped, that there is a lot of crime and that it’s a dangerous place to visit. Is Buenos Aires dangerous? This is a difficult question without a concrete answer.
In general, yes, there is a certain degree of danger here. Being the capital of Argentina, and a city of 13 million people, it is the most dangerous city in Argentina. I must admit that personally, I have never felt threatened in Buenos Aires. I walk around by myself at whatever time of the day or night, and have never had anything happen or almost happen to me. I have never even seen any crime as it was happening. In general, Buenos Aires is quite safe, much more so than some of the other major cities in South America, such as Rio de Janeiro, Lima, Quito, or Bogota. However, there is certainly a lot crime in this city, and one must be careful, smart, and lucky to live or vacation here without ever having any problems.
If you watch the news, every day you will hear of a robbery or a murder. This is not uncommon, but this is the same in any huge city throughout the world. However, crime is currently on the increase in Argentina, as the economic situation is deteriorating, and especially because of the high inflation, there is more and more poverty every day. Some of the most common crimes you need to watch out for are as follows:
Petty crimes – this mostly includes robbery when you’re not paying attention. The thieves here are VERY good. Be extremely careful when you are on the crowded subways, they can easily take something out of your purse or bag without you noticing. Something that has happened quite a lot to people is that they have had their purses stolen while in a restaurant. They hang it on their chair, or think they are keeping an eye on it, and when they are ready to leave, all of a sudden it is no longer there. Make sure this does not happen to you!
Laptop robbery – unfortunately, laptop robbery is starting to become somewhat common. Electronics are worth a fortune, so you can imagine how much they can sell your fancy laptop for. They are usually stolen from people as they are leaving coffee shops that have WiFi, and is often done as a team. One person will have a coffee inside, scope out someone who is leaving with a nice laptop, call their friend outside and tell them who to go after. They essentially mug you, forcing you to give them your laptop. This does not mean you can never go to a cyber cafe, but be aware. It is best to go to a somewhat busy cafe in a busy area, where this is less likely to happen.
Mugging – this is somewhat common. A thief goes after you on the street, and asks for your money. They usually have a knife, sometimes a gun. Give them whatever they ask for, and they usually leave you alone.
ATM robberies – also somewhat common. They wait for someone to go to an ATM, withdraw a lot of money, and will then mug them as they are leaving. You will notice that at the ATMs here, you have to wait outside the doors if the machines are in use. You don´t enter the ATM room and make a line inside, as that is a security risk for those withdrawing money. In respect to them, you line-up outside the doors until they leave.
Kidnappings – these were quite common closer to the crisis in 2001, specifically tourists. There are still a fair amount of kidnappings that take place; however, it is more commonly the teenagers of rich Argentine parents that are the victims.
These are the most common crimes that you will hear about, or that are most likely to happen to you. As I mention above, it is important to be careful and smart to stay safe in Buenos Aires.
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