Crime & Safety Information for Argentina
Argentina is relatively safe yet street crime involving muggers, pickpockets, scam artists, and purse-snatchers has been rising steadily, especially in the city of Buenos Aires and other popular tourist areas such as Mendoza and Tucuman. This includes violent offenses such as knifings, shootings and other forms of physical assault.
Getting your valuables stolen or experiencing a case of ATM fraud is becoming an ‘all to common’ story for visitors to Argentina. Squirting a liquid on the victim’s backpack or clothing and then when distracted grabbing the pack or purse, befriending a victim then drugging his or her drink to incapacitate them, breaking a bottle then cutting a victim, stealing valuables out of checked luggage at the airport… you name the dirty trick and most likely it is going on in Argentina.
To combat the increase of crime – and protect local citizens as well as their billion dollar tourism industry – Argentina is initiating a newly trained “elite police force” (arm of the Argentine National Gendarmerie) in Buenos Aires (2011).
Some Tips to Prevent Being Robbed
- Be aware of your surroundings (especially at night).
- Be suspicious of strangers who talk to you for no reason or seem to be trying to distract you (especially in Internet cafes, train and bus stations).
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash or wearing expensive jewellery.
- Avoid ATM machines at night; book taxis in advance or take only radio taxis that display the company logo and take note of the cab number.
- When flying take all valuables (camera, laptop, etc.) with you in your carry-on bag.
Note: If you need emergency assistance while visiting or living in Argentina – contact your embassy. Links to emergency assistance information is located here: Living in Argentina – Embassies of the USA, Canada, Australia & UK.
From the U.S. Department of State website: “Most U.S. citizens visit Argentina without incident. Nevertheless, street crime in the larger cities, especially greater Buenos Aires and Mendoza, is a problem for residents and visitors alike.” More Argentina safety information can be found here: Bureau of Consular Affairs – Argentina.
In addition, when traveling to or living in Argentina, you need to be cautious when on the road driving or crossing any street as a pedestrian; traffic accidents are the primary cause of death to foreigners visiting Argentina. Argentina has the highest traffic mortality rate per 100,000 inhabitants in South America.
As with other South American countries, public protests and demonstrations may erupt without warning. It is best to stear clear and leave the area or watch from a safe distance.
There is occasional flooding along the coast and some areas inland such as the province of Santa Fe. The areas of Mendoza, Salta, Jujuy, and Tucuman in western and northwestern Argentina periodically experience earthquakes.
Photograph of police station in Posadas by Molly McHugh, all rights reserved.