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attack in the Old city

Uk
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attack in the Old city

I have read here of an attack on a solo male traveller.

I would also like to report that I was walking back with my partner along Sarandi 2 weeks ago (21 Nov 2012) when I was knifed and robbed. A young guy grabbed my bag from behind, cut it off with a knife (which also penetrated my neck) and rushed off, jumping on to a motor-bike waiting for him with an accomplice in the driving-seat.

My partner said he caught a glimpse of the attacker and said he gave an impression of a cultured person, fairly well-dressed.

A very kind Uruguayan man took us to the police station where an officer made a report. As with the attack on the previous guy, I got the impression that the police were going to do absolutely nothing. They also wouldn't give me a copy of the report they made.

We are a retired couple from the UK, have travelled extensively in Central and South America and we both speak Spanish. This is the first time in all our 6 years of travel in the region that there have been any such incidents. I had to seek hospital and also osteopathic treatment for neck wounds and shoulder stiffness.

If the government here are serious about wishing to promote tourism, they must take on board and tackle growing levels of attacks. Of course, this could happen anywhere, but everyone we spoke to knew of attacks in the Old Town, so this is known to be a danger spot, yet we never before or since saw a single police officer in the area.

Punta del Este
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1. Re: attack in the Old city

I'm sorry about what you went through.

Ciudad Vieja, the Old Town, is the only place where we always advice people not to walk alone, and not to walk at night. When you travel it's important to ask the locals, the receptionist where you're staying, the bell boy, anybody actually to tell you what area to avoid, or what are the precautions to take.

Ciudad Vieja is the financial heart of the city during daytime, but when the sun sets, the business people leave the neighbourhood half empty. The permanent inhabitants live in rundown properties, mostly low income young families, many jobless and some drug dealers, so youngsters are about for quick money to buy their dose.

For future travellers: "Ciudad Vieja, never alone, never at night"

Cabarete, Dominican...
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2. Re: attack in the Old city

I'm also quite sorry to hear about this bad experience.

We've been advising not walking in the Ciudad Vieja at night or any time during weekends, except Sarandi on Saturday mornings/lunch time, on this forum for quite a long time. It's unfortunate but off-working hours parts of Ciudad Vieja are not very nice and could indeed be dangerous.

Yes, I do agree with the poster that my government could put more policemen on the streets of Ciudad Vieja, especially along Sarandi. I would also like to encourage the OP to post more often on the forums, asking for advice of which areas to avoid, in her future travels.

Silvia

Punta del Este
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3. Re: attack in the Old city

I can go to the Police Station to check if they caught the mugger, if they found any of your belongings or if there are any news about the incident.

Where did you make the formal complaint? which hospital assisted you? what was in your handbag?

I'd like to be of practical help here. Marcos

Philadelphia...
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4. Re: attack in the Old city

Thank you for telling us about this unfortunate experience in the Old Town.

I am terribly sorry that it happened and I can only imagine how difficult it must have been for both you and your partner.

Let's hope the authorities in Montevideo will finally take concrete measures to see that incidents like this never happen again.

5. Re: attack in the Old city

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Removed on: 13 December 2012, 18:21
6. Re: attack in the Old city

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Removed on: 13 December 2012, 23:38
Uk
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7. Re: attack in the Old city

Dear colleagues

Many thanks for your kind messages of support following the knife attack on me.

I do understand that there are problem areas especially in big cities. However, we have travelled for long periods in Central and South America during the last 6 years and wherever we go, we are told that any one particular city...or at least certain parts of it..... is the most dangerous in the world! And should be avoided!! (Mexico, Guatemala, La Paz, Quito, Lima, Caracas....I could go on). We have a motto which is: NEVER LET FEAR STOP YOU FROM DOING WHAT YOU WANT TO DO (within reason of course) Without this, we would have missed out on many wonderful experiences...so I don't think it is good enough for the authorities just to designate no-go areas, the problem needs to be addressed at source, otherwise this affects the freedom of us all. (How about the guy who was attacked in broad daylight by a gang of 6 youths?? just when he was travelling with all his luggage??) I do know that a firm police presence in problem areas cuts down crime in that area.

In this instance, we had been returning from the Montevideo Jazz Festival, something which obviously only happens in the evening and we had timed our whole trip to Uruguay to coincide with this festival. The place where we had our hotel is in a pedestrianised street which is why we were walking there. I was not alone but with my partner.

Marco, many thanks for your offer to help. I will send you details if you write to me on this site (via personal message) , giving me your e-mail address and location.

Punta del Este
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8. Re: attack in the Old city

Dear Joyce, I just sent you a private message with my details.

I'm serious about making waves about this

My only concern is to be fair and just to all parts. The authorities have never designated the old town as a no-go-area. In fact they have implemented the Touristic Police, especially with cruise ships in port.

I guess being a victim of violence turns you upside down. But posting here that "the police would do absolutely nothing" is not a healthy impression for future visitors that may be reading this forum. And in my opinion it's not true. Montevideanos' main concern is safety, and the police follows a protocol to file a professional report.

You mentioned again the topic by a user here ("Violent mid-day attack..."), a topic that I have already said in my opinion is not consistent and lacks credibility.

By adding comments to your topic you are being responsible, I thank you for that. Hopefully, if you, me and more posters contact the Ministry of Tourism about incidents like this we'll change things.

Uk
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9. Re: attack in the Old city

I have some comments to make about the last posting concerning the attack on me in the Old Town:

1. I agree that the authorities have not officially designated the old town as a no-go area. However, this is the informal advice we are receiving from, for example, tourist information offices, and also the advice given by other posters on the forum, which becomes then self-perpetuating. We are hearing loud and clear that the port area is to be avoided, and this also from ordinary people in shops, in restaurants, on the street (when we asked directions from a woman just coming out of her house today for example, she advised us not to approach the port area.)

2. Whether my reporting of this experience fails to create a "healthy impression for future visitors" is really not the point. I respect the fact that it is perhaps your job to encourage visitors here, but I also have the right to speak out about my experiences, to warn others, and not to sweep the unpleasant stuff under the carpet.

3. It is not in my view especially helpful to this situation that the police have implemented tourist police here; it is the CRIME police who need to have a strong presence on the street particularly after dark which -as has happened in other countries-leads to a decrease in criminal activity. We are not just talking about tourists, either, but also about the residents of Montevideo who should also be able to expect to walk the streets without fearing an attack. We have spoken to several local residents who have told us that they do not feel safe in the Old Town.

4. The police may have a duty to file a professional report, but that doesn't mean to say that they do so. And I was not given a copy of the report. I was given a scrap of paper outlining what I remembered there to be in the bag which was cut off my shoulder. Nothing about any crime, any attack. No advice given. And I'm not aware of any follow-up to this incident.

Punta del Este
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10. Re: attack in the Old city

"Policía turística" are regular police officers (they are assigned to the touristic areas of town if they speak English or Portuguese)

I'm just a regular traveller who likes to assist tourists.

Edited: 15 December 2012, 18:53