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Crime and Safety

Argentina - Crime and Safety

While Argentina has a very European heritage, its location in South America means that it is not necessarily one of the safest places in the world to visit.

Buenos Aires does have a fairly low violent crime rate in comparison to most capital cities. The local police patrol regularly and this helps to keep violent crime to a minimum. Some small towns have even better records, with serious crime being almost non-existent, though the country has seen a recent rise in criminal activity which can be linked to rises in unemployment due to the economic downturn.

Thieves will always operate and pickpockets are becoming more common, particularly in tourist areas so it is advisable not to wear lots of jewellery or carry many valuables on your person as distraction thefts are becoming increasingly common. Care should be taken to use recommended taxi services and visitors are advised not to just hail a cab in the street, but to book one in advance. It is also advisable to take extra care when withdrawing cash from ATMs, particularly if you are on your own.

The emergency number to call in Buenos Aires is 101; this is an English-speaking helpline which is in operation 24 hours a day. Visitors to other areas should obtain the number for the local police stations which often have multi-lingual staff and there is also a free phone number for tourists who have been the victims of crime – 0800 999 5000 – which is also staffed by multi lingual operators.

The judicial system in Argentina is based on Federal and Provincial courts. The Federal court system focuses on cases which are linked to the government or cases that may involve more than one province. Issues concerning foreign people or companies will also be dealt with at the Federal court. Each province of the country also has its own court system, consisting of labour, criminal and civil courts which will deal with a variety of cases. Argentina does not have a trial by jury system and judges make the decisions.

If you should choose to travel in a rural area it is advisable to contact local rangers and wardens and give them your details rather than just wander off into the countryside. They will also be able to advise on any specific safety concerns you may have.

Road safety is a major issue in the larger urban areas of Argentina. Many drivers choose to ignore traffic laws and as a result the number of accidents is high. It is also advisable to avoid any areas where a protest may be taking place as these often turn violent.

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