22 March, 2012

Crime rate in Buenos Aires

Before coming to Buenos Aires, I had done an online research about the crime rate in Buenos Aires and I must say I was nervous (read paranoid). It seemed as very unsafe city.
But my stay in BA proved all my fears baseless. The city is not as bad as it is portrayed. I have moved in BA all by myself at all odd hours but like any metropolitan, certain precautions need to be taken.
Lets see what kind of crimes I had read about and heard from people.

1. Fake currency
2. Cab drivers taking a longer route or giving you back fake notes (advice: always take radio taxi) or their meters being tampered.
3. People will throw some dirty things on you like mustard sauce etc. It will look like bird poop. Others will come to help you and clean you. In the process, they will pickpocket you. (Advice: never let anyone help you, touch you or come near you. Say sternly to move away and walk away).
4. Advice: Be careful after withdrawing money from ATM. Do not go to lonely spot at night.You might be followed.
5. Advice: Never carry too many flashy things with you like expensive camera or phone, jewelry etc. Carry bare minimum cash with you. Even credit cards etc should be avoided.
6. Advice: If you are coming back late at night (I always did, after milonga), ask your cab driver to wait for you, till you have entered your apartment.

In my whole trip, I heard of only one theft incidence. A girl attending CITA Tango festival came back and told us that she had withdrawn money from ATM. Maybe some people had followed her. Then she went and bought shoes. She had shopping bags. Then she sat for a lunch in a restaurant. She heard of some noise outside the restaurant- some people banging glass window of the restaurant from outside. Everyone's attention went that side and a girl sitting next to her table disappeared with her shopping bags.

This was the only theft incidence I heard of. I would say just be alert. Use common sense. Do not carry too expensive things with you. Clutch your bags tightly and keep them next to you and BA is not so bad as it is made to appear.