Safety/ Crime Problem?


pericles said:
Yes Porteños like to glorify that they were safer in the good old days of the 70s and 80s but wait wasnt there a dictatorship back then that kidnapped thousands of people never to be heard of again.
Exactly. The same hysterical celebrities hollering about the human rights of victims now were mysteriously silent during and after the dictatorship (indeed many considered human rights a concept to be mocked during their support of amnesty laws for perpetrators of crimes in the dictatorship)

This particular bout of media hysteria has been gradually gathering momentum over the past 8-9 months. There is a political agenda behind it - to be able to prosecute and incarcerate 11 year olds like adults and now the call for the death penalty or various forms of vigilante justice. The media is giving blanket coverage to whatever they can find to sow more fear. It's worthwhile to stand back from this a little and just evaluate the number and the nature of the incidents that are being picked over in such detail and think about the number of people living in Gran Buenos Aires.

I'm astonished that some of these celebrities who have distorted facts, told outright lies and called on the public to dispense justice by lynching suspected criminals have any remaining credibility (or career for that matter).


Nothing against my fellow expats but most of them live in nice areas where crime is less prevalent. I believe they are very sheltered from the problems as a result. If you ask the average Argentine who lives in less nice areas of town you would get a different answer. As long as you stay in the nicer barrios you shouldn't have any big problems.

Overall my sense is that crime in Argentina (not just B.A.)is significantly higher than you will find in North America or Europe. Most crimes are against property and not people, although violent crime does regularly occur. Again, most of the crime occurs in poor neighborhoods against poor people. I live just North of B.A. and I can tell you that muggings, home invasions, kidnappings, etc. occur on a daily basis.


Thanks for the input. It seems like crime is not something that should deter me from studying in BA, as long as I stay in the nicer areas and take precautions.


Hi Bryanf,

I'm in the same position as you; I'm travelling to South America shortly to study Spanish. I'm on the fence as to whether I will go to Colombia or Argentina. I received the same advice re Colombia - keep your wits about you, and avoid certain areas etc.

Any city can be potentially dangerous, but if you take the usual precautions, you'll be fine.



Moxon said:
There is a political agenda behind it - to be able to prosecute and incarcerate 11 year olds like adults and now the call for the death penalty or various forms of vigilante justice.
Actually they just want to lower the age of indemnity to 16, not 11. More and more house invasions and robberies seem to be done by 16-18 year olds. They get sent to do the jobs because they won't be punished. and the Juvenile detention centres are a joke. A 16 year old can commit murder here and basically get off scott free. They need a stronger system of justice to be able to deal with these teenagers.


Tourist Safety in Buenos Aires & Argentina

Argentina has achieved much over the last ten years to bolster policing of the main tourist regions, and as long as you apply good common sense, we would venture to say that Buenos Aires and its tourist districts and other tourist destinations in Argentina are safe.

Buenos Aires City and the barrios we list on our websites BASTAY & BUENOSAIRESSTAY are relatively safe with isolated gun crime and violence generally restricted to criminal social structures. Local police beat the streets, or kind of lounge and provide a fine deterrent. Do not let the nonchalant, podgy, fag-in-mouth facade fool you. Approximately 99% of crime affecting tourist is petty opportunism and confidence trickery. Violent crime is rare, however, Buenos Aires is like most other cities worldwide and crime is on the increase and we get the impression that the ‘heat’ turned up by paramilitary policing activity in countries further north is sending the mafias south.

Nevertheless, it is important to remember there are thieves who spend their time on the lookout for those that have that fresh-off-the-boat-look. Always protect your valuables and keep your passport and tickets at your apartment or hotel – do not carry them around with you, and take one credit card if you have to, a few bills and dress down, you are on holiday.

Emergency Guide
In case you do get into any sort of trouble, anything from loss of passport, to theft, to a medical emergency, please consult our Emergency Guide
. <Click here> to read our emergency guide and telephone number taken directly from official sources

Buenos Aires Safety
The Buenos Aires barrio of La Boca has seen a number of thefts of valuables just a few blocks away from the famous street Caminito. Take special care when you are in this area.
Palermo Viejo is suffering significant street crime. You should not give anyone the opportunity to stop you without good reason and you should you receive a question in Spanish late at night – head up, stride but do not run unless approached with speed. If approached with menace, you hopefully have taken our advice, remain calm immediately empty your pockets so they are visibly empty and handover your one credit card and a few bills – do not carry a handbag or rucksack at night if you can avoid it.

Men, avoid the honey-trap – especially when a beauty wants to throw her arms around your waste for no apparent reason other than your good looks she may be after more than your crown jewels. They often operate from rouge taxis and you might see someone get out and approach you - walk away – ‘NO GRACIAS.’

The tourist attractions have their adept conmen – no violence, just distraction. The bird pooh on your back, children beneath tables, the smiles and close up talking mean that your valuables are at risk and the orator or their colleague is in your pocket or backpack. Do no put valuable in your back pack as it is too easy at crossings, street performances and on public transport remove your goods whilst you are distracted.

Taxi Travel
You find Taxis all over Buenos Aires. Taxis in Buenos Aires are yellow, black, and all clearly marked and have a meter. If they fail to switch on the meter, do not pay. In general, it is completely safe to travel by taxi in Buenos Aires, but recently there have been some problems so late at night ask your hosts for a radio taxi. If you are at all concerned, go to the nearest hotel and take a taxi.

Female Travellers
Argentina is a safe country for women to travel. Besides a few quick come-ons and the old
chamuyo”, by the local men, women are generally safe. We recommended for women to leave their jewels at home and not wear expensive-looking jewellery. Use radio taxis if you are dressing-up.

Senior-Citizen Travellers
Argentines revere and respect their elders and in Argentine culture and there is no reason not to travel to Argentina. Get yourself to Buenos Aires!


Bryan--I am consistently surprised by how safe Buenos Aires really is. You obviously need to pay attention but overall it is a very safe. For example, the buses here run 24 hours a day and I feel comfortable taking the bus home alone late at night which is something I probably would not have done in NYC. Buenos Aires is great -- don´t go to Spain!


I agree with Oxente! above. Before coming here, I read a lot on this forum about the safety and problems/concerns for expats and it started to freak me out. So I pretty much stopped looking at this forum until I actually arrived and saw for myself. Much less stressful that way!

I don't mean to criticize at all because i've gotten a lot of useful info here, but just keep in mind that it's human nature to tend to bring up the negatives more often than the positives.

I would give Argentina a shot over Spain. It's cheaper and if you have time to travel around, you can go to other Spanish-speaking countries nearby and practice what you learn. Spain will be more expensive (I was shocked by prices 4 yrs ago in Barcelona) and if you travel outside of Spain, you won't get to use Spanish...

Good luck!