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Crime in Buenos Aires

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Petty crime in the larger cities, especially in the greater Buenos Aires area continues to be a problem for residents and visitors alike. Visitors to Buenos Aires and popular tourist destinations should be especially alert to pickpockets and purse snatching on the streets and on buses and trains. Thieves often work in pairs, and they employ a variety of ruses to victimize the unsuspecting visitor. In recent years, most crime affecting U.S. visitors has been non-violent. Nevertheless, aggravated robberies and shootings have become more frequent, especially in the suburbs of the capital and in Buenos Aires Province. Incidents of armed invasions of restaurants, shops, and residences in the more fashionable suburbs are also occurring with greater frequency. As a result, it is recommended that due caution be exercised when traveling about the city.

Additionally, there are frequent instances of false taxicabs in which passengers have been robbed. Armed thieves, usually in collusion with the taxi driver, will quickly enter the taxi when the vehicle stops at a stoplight. This location is usually within a couple of blocks from where the victim hailed the taxi, but sometimes it can be at the victim's destination point. Assailants will either rob the victim immediately or take the victim to the nearest cash machine for cash withdrawal. Much of this type of crime is perpetrated in the city center, especially in the banking district.

So-called "express kidnapping" has become more frequent in metropolitan Buenos Aires. Assailants have taken victims off the street or from other public places and later demanded a ransom. Once the ransom is paid, the victim is usually quickly released. Though most victims are residents of Buenos Aires, visitors should be alert to this danger. In particular, U.S citizens are advised to ensure that children and adolescents do not travel alone on city streets.

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the U.S. Embassy. U.S. citizens can refer to the Department of State's pamphlet, A Safe Trip Abroad, for ways to promote a more trouble-free journey. The pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402.

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