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Pacopancho
Junior Member
Username: Pacopancho

Post Number: 29
Registered: 5-2008
Posted on Sunday, September 26, 2010 - 4:29 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Everyone,

Should everything go to plan, my wife and I are moving to Argentina next month, hoping to rent a one bedroom apartment somewhere cheap but safe (ah, wouldn't everyone!).

I have been concerned at hearing so many stories of muggings and would like to get a feel for what it is really like on the ground before we get there.

Of the people on this forum who live in Buenos Aires, have you ever been mugged? If so, when and how? What about pickpocketted?

Any information on this would be helpful. I don't want to be fearful but neither do I want to be naive.
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Bill Howard
Member
Username: Veritas01

Post Number: 77
Registered: 5-2006
Posted on Sunday, September 26, 2010 - 10:44 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I belong to another forum that focuses on tourism and there are always stories of petty crimes. Mostly snatch and grab (purses, phones, etc.) and pickpocketing. A few were victims of more serious thefts at knifepoint. The bottom line for most was there were in an area that locals knew would be unsafe for tourists and they were not careful about what things of value they took out in public and displayed. Carrying expensive cameras or laptops, wearing a lot of gold jewelry, flashing cash, being oblivious to your surrounding, etc...often was a contributing factor to the robbery. My wife's family live in BA and they have never been robbed or scammed but they are Argentine and always careful and watchful. Bottom line unless you are in a super safe area (are there any?) you should be careful about what you have on your person and how your act.

I am sure after a few weeks or months you will be savvy as a native porteno. Good luck and please post about your experiences.
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Roberto
Board Administrator
Username: Admin

Post Number: 1981
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Sunday, September 26, 2010 - 10:15 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Paco, first of all GOOD LUCK to both of you on your move!

Residents of Buenos Aires of many years have been robbed in many occasions. I am positive everyone you talk to will be able to tell you a story that is as close to first-hand as it gets. My mother who runs this travel agency was robbed twice at her office. The first time, she was on the phone while the guy was pulling a weapon on her and she thought it was a joke. She ended up in the bathroom locked with the rest of the employees.

Point is, take it seriously... but not too much. You are not saying where in Buenos Aires you are moving to but while leaving in the city you may move around and every now and then can come close to danger. When I say don't take it too seriously I really mean that having the knowledge that there is risk, you should not let it become fear. Fear that may paralyze you. Residents are alert, but still go by their business as usual. "Danger moments" are easy to spot, like when getting cash from a teller machine or walking out of a bank, opening the door of your house to anyone, etc.

What Bill said, in a few weeks you will play it like a local.
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Pacopancho
Junior Member
Username: Pacopancho

Post Number: 30
Registered: 5-2008
Posted on Monday, September 27, 2010 - 12:32 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks for the responses.

I lived in Cordoba for a few years in my early teens, and I don't remember getting robbed, though I do remember some of my friends did. My mother was also pickpocketted a couple of times in the city. No doubt, Buenos Aires will have more crime.

At this stage we do not know where we are going to live. We are going to stay with a couple of family friends of mine (and I am not even sure where they are either!) for a couple of weeks while we look for a place to stay. We are hoping to find a one bedroom unfurnished apartment for about 700-800 a month, based on what I have seen online.

My wife and I have lived in Kenya for about five years and we had to deal with security issues there on various different levels. Mostly, it was just pickpocket stuff in the capital, Nairobi; and helping people getting lynched in the rural areas, and political violence. However, there are very few guns around in Kenya, which I know is different in Argentina and that is something that concerned me.

I do not want to be fearful at all. It is hard to overcome fears, however, before arriving and seeing things for yourself. I remember when I first went over to the States, I went to live in Compton, L.A. which is a notorious gang-rap neighborhood. However, after moving there I found it was not as bad as I imagined. Even though we were virtually the only white people around, we hardly ever had any problems (although there were several drive by shootings at the front of our house, aimed at some local drug dealers; and a couple of friends of mine got mugged at the toilets of the local train station). So I can imagine that things are much better than I am imagining right now.

I have recently been getting into video editing and would like to record some of my experiences of moving to Argentina on film. I have bought a small hand held flip camera for that purpose. However, I AM nervous about filming in Baires, as I have heard that people target you if they see you with such equipment. I hope I mostly hear exaggerations and that it is only a matter of avoiding particularly bad areas.

Anyway, I do want to stay in touch with this forum, and I'll let you know how things go.
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Roberto
Board Administrator
Username: Admin

Post Number: 1982
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Monday, September 27, 2010 - 12:42 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

You have a place here, always. So feel free to upload a link to the videos whether it will be youtube, vimeo or other free host. I will check to see if this forum can take embeded files for videos too.

I am pretty sure you will feel a lot better once you get to Argentina. Filming in public venues should not pose too much risk, specially with a smaller type of camera. But I do have one question about your last post... is this

"...and helping people getting lynched in the rural areas"

or

"...and helping people NOT getting lynched in the rural areas"?
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Pacopancho
Junior Member
Username: Pacopancho

Post Number: 31
Registered: 5-2008
Posted on Monday, September 27, 2010 - 5:08 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

lol, Roberto! No, we weren't helping to lynch people!

What I said is we were helping people getting lynched, meaning we would help the people who were getting lynched, by taking them out of the lynch mob, stoning, etc. I got stoned a couple of times doing that, but I was okay, as they weren't really trying to stone me but the victim/thief/crazy-person so it was mostly by accident that I got hit. And fortunately, I didn't get hit by any of the machetes, clubs, etc.
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Roberto
Board Administrator
Username: Admin

Post Number: 1983
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Monday, September 27, 2010 - 9:21 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

While reading your clarification I had visions of Jesus-era desert towns, but then I realized this is here and now. You must have interesting -yet sad- stories to tell.
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Arial
Advanced Member
Username: Arial

Post Number: 348
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Thursday, September 30, 2010 - 6:36 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Paco, I live in Buenos Aires in a low crime area, Palermo. Since I am past 70 I probably would be a likely target, but I have had only one incident and it was my own fault. I had my wallet (with my passport inside) taken right out of my purse on a very crowded subway. But after being in Buenos Aires enough times with not even a close call, I was careless. But no more!

I am always anxious when I leave the bank after a withdrawal and I am careful to see if I am being followed. Also, you learn to leave money you will not be needing in your apartment and carry only a copy of your ID and not the real thing--though I don't know how that would work if you were ever asked to produce it. I am taking that chance. I also find other places to carry bank cards, apartment keys, etc., besides my purse. If someone did take my purse, I would be locked out of my apartment if the keys were in it so I try to think ahead.

As Roberto says, you soon start acting like a local.
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Pacopancho
Junior Member
Username: Pacopancho

Post Number: 32
Registered: 5-2008
Posted on Tuesday, October 05, 2010 - 11:29 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks for the response. I can imagine that it is not as bad as what people say, at the same time that you do have to be wise about things.

I mostly don't want to lose stuff like computers that have a lot of my work on them, or important documents that are hard or impossible to replace. Nevertheless, there is no use in being fearful about such things. Certain substances happen from time to time.
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Arial
Advanced Member
Username: Arial

Post Number: 351
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Wednesday, October 06, 2010 - 9:34 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

As always, important to keep important info on your computer backed up. If it is sensitive, use encryption.

Also you have to be careful taking computers out. Thieves here are often professional, wear suits and ties and don't look like thieves. Someone I know had his computer in a case and put it under his chair in a restaurant between his feet. Some well-dressed men came in and sat at the next table. When he got up to leave and picked up his valise, they had taken his and substituted another one and he had not felt a thing. When I say they are "professional" I mean that literally. I have heard that they hold conventions here and have contest demos of their methods! So it is "petty" crime but you are up against pros.

I have computers in my apartment and while I am sure there are slick criminals who could get them, it would be a challenge. I am on the 6th floor, my door appears to be steel and has four locks on it. Maybe Spiderman could do it! I would not be afraid to take my laptop out, but I would surely be cautious about setting it down anywhere in a public place and I would be watchful of the area around me. These are all things to think about in advance.

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