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Safety in Buenos Aires: A Different Slant

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USA
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Safety in Buenos Aires: A Different Slant

Sometimes when I watch the evening news, I think to myself, "The world is falling apart." I suppose therapists occasionally wonder why "everyone" is unhappy. Or maybe police officers become jaded and figure "nobody" is trustworthy anymore.

In all three cases, the view is obviously skewed. Conclusions are being drawn hastily based on a very narrow view of the big picture--in other words, on a biased sample.

And that's a bit how I feel after reading all the posts about the perceived dangers in BsAs. I recented visited the city for the first time, and relied on this outstandingly informative forum to prepare myself. After reading the many well-intentioned, and much appreciated, warnings about things to guard against, I began to second-guess my choice of destinations. I grew so nervous, in fact, that I ordered an expensive PacSafe backpack to ward off thieves, and even bought some new, less American-looking clothes to help me appear less like a tourist--- two things I had never previously done.

I'm not prone to overreactions. And I can take care of myself-- I'm over 6' tall, in my early 40s, in good shape, a former police detective, and a seasoned world traveler. During 25 years of international travel to more than 30 countries, I've never experienced a loss, theft, or assault, although I suspect I headed off one or two imminent attempts along the way. The point is, I ordinarily have no reason to be overly cautious... common sense has always served me well.

Yet after reading so many references here to safety concerns, I actually arrived at EZE mildly paranoid. Throughout my first couple of days in BsAs, I watched people on the metro like a hawk. I clutched my bag close to me at all times, and stood back from the roadway to avoid thieves on motorcycles. I kept an eye toward the sky to make sure no one hovered above, about to spray "bird poop" on me. I stashed my camera in my bag after every photo so as to minimize its visibility, and used a "decoy" wallet with no more than 100 pesos in it-- while the rest of my cash was safely tucked in a concealed pouch under my jeans.

As time went by, I felt embarrassed. The Argentine people I met were all, to a person, warm and hospitable. They gladly answered all my questions and patiently explained things I didn't understand. The taxi drivers I encountered were professional-- honest and efficient. My time in Buenos Aires (and in Iguazu and Colonia del Sacramento) all passed without ANY problems.

Don't get me wrong... I know unfortunate things happen, and that in a forum such as this it's important to report them as a warning to others. Some of you might suggest that I had no problems precisely BECAUSE all the posts here put me effectively on guard.

But it takes a lot for me-- a relatively calm and confident traveler-- to become unduly nervous, instead of excited, about visiting someplace new. And one of the joys of traveling is meeting new people, embracing new cultures and opportunities, and in return sharing some of yourself with the people you meet along the way. And I don't think you can effectively do that if you sense danger at every corner.

So I'm merely suggesting that perhaps we would all do well to take a deep breath and remind ourselves that, despite what we see on the news (or in this forum), the world is NOT falling apart, people ARE generally happy and friendly, and yes-- most people are still honest and trustworthy. Visit Buenos Aires. Make friends. Enjoy yourself. I certainly did!

Sydney, Australia
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1. Re: Safety in Buenos Aires: A Different Slant

SummerVagabond,

An loud applause for a very considered, thoughtful and pragmatic approach to Safety.

Posts like these are fantastic to read, as they offer suggestions and bring things back into perspective. The ones that over dramatise and border on hysteria creation make alot of us who regularly come here insensed and immediately defensive etc.

Well done on one of the more intelligent and balanced posts on "Safety" that we have seen.

Suerte!

Buenos Aires...
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2. Re: Safety in Buenos Aires: A Different Slant

Brilliant !!

Thank you ... you put it all so perfectly. Muchas gracias !

WDC
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for Buenos Aires
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3. Re: Safety in Buenos Aires: A Different Slant

IMO, this Post should be a 'Stickey' at the top of the Forum Page.

Thank you for this excellent, thoughtful, important post.

~MarnieWDC

Buenos Aires...
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for Buenos Aires
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4. Re: Safety in Buenos Aires: A Different Slant

I Totally agree with that, Marnie !

Ontario, CAN
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5. Re: Safety in Buenos Aires: A Different Slant

Wow Summer....you took the words right out of my mouth - except you put it way more eloquently!! I made the mistake of passing on some of the "incidents" we read about on the forum to our family and friends - by the time we left for Agentina even THEY were paranoid for our safety. Suffice to say we spent almost 6 weeks in Buenos Aires without a problem, but it did take us several days to realize that we could relax and enjoy the city as we would any other big city we've ever travelled to!! I found your post most thoughtful and worthy of a read by anyone who is planning a trip!

Los Angeles
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6. Re: Safety in Buenos Aires: A Different Slant

My partner and I have been to Buenos Aires many times and not encountered any safety issue. We've walked through the streets of San Telmo, Recoleta, Palermo and San Martin at night without any fears of safety.

Thank-you for your well-thought-out and written assessment of the safety issue in Buenos Aires. It's spot-on. Tim

Toronto, Canada
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7. Re: Safety in Buenos Aires: A Different Slant

Very well put.

surrey
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8. Re: Safety in Buenos Aires: A Different Slant

Agree! BA is perfectly safe if you are sensible. Have had 3 trips there recently, only times I was scared was during a couple of taxi rides, when the drivers were maniacs!!! BUT.....they seem to be in total control and know what they were doing. Well...I survived....heart attacks almost occurred! (Drivers were honest, no rip-offs)

Spent some time in an area Lanus Oeste...hardly a tourist area, but I have friends there, and provided you don't look like a tourist, absolutely no problems at all. This area is working-class and industrial, but the streets have lots of beautiful flowering trees, and a major effort is being made to "upgrade" the area. Local restaurants and bars are all very friendly. This may never become a touristy area...apart from the football matches...but with a little extra effort, it is delightful.

Chicago, Illinois
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9. Re: Safety in Buenos Aires: A Different Slant

Thank you. I did the same thing in Spain last year. The worst part is I live in downtown Chicago.

Branford...
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10. Re: Safety in Buenos Aires: A Different Slant

Nice post and well said. I have never had a problem in over a dozen trips to Argentina though I have seen some petty theft. I think the posts you see here about crime prevention are in reaction to people posting their shock and surprise about being the victims of crime and then attacking the entire country and its people. An infomred and aware traveller is the safest. There are bad apples in every barrel but it shouldn't stop you from enjoying the rest.