After living in Argentina for two years I realized just how blessed I am to live in Utah in the United States. In Argentina it seems there is a lot more crime than in the United States. Because of the high rates of crime, people often put up fences around their houses and have multiple dogs.
Safety Measures and Criminal Tactics in Argentina
Over most of the windows there are metal bars. When I first moved to Argentina I thought the houses looked a bit like fortresses or prisons, but eventually I became fond of the idea of secure houses. I thought when I moved back to the United States that I would put up bars over our windows- ya know just to add security. Hehe- that was a joke- I don’t think I’ll put up any bars at our future home. Luckily in the United States it is not necessary to have bars to protect your home (unless you live in a large city or in a very poor neighborhood).
Even with the bars and concrete walls, people still found ways to break into homes. Sometimes criminals chiseled out the bars that were embedded in the concrete covering the windows. Other people used crowbars to pry open strong metal doors.
In poor neighborhoods there is generally more criminal activity. Sometimes criminal gangs congregate and organize their criminal efforts. For example in one town in the Patagonia- Comodoro Rivadavia– a group of young adults would track when each family member left home and when they returned. Once there would be no one at home a group of men would break into the home and steal any valuables, such as TVs and other electronics.
Once when visiting a family as missionaries we heard that a group of young men were walking around trying to sell a refrigerator they had stolen for about 20 pesos (super cheap- like 8 dollars).
Safety Tips for Visiting Argentina
A few tips I might offer to people visiting Argentina include not acting nervous around gangs- often gangs will feed on nervous behavior and take advantage of those who fear and hate them. Sometimes we found it beneficial to get to know the gang members and talk with them in person. Once they knew us they would usually not target us.
I think you have to be very cautious and follow what you feel to be safe.
About security, crime and safety on the streets of Argentina. Most of the houses have bars over the windows as a security measure so people don’t break in. The houses are close together. A lot of people have dogs- mean dogs they train to be a sort of home security system. You don’t want to get too close to the dogs in Argentina. To keep yourself safe- pray and be smart. I was bit by dogs five times and I was fine every time. I never got infected or anything weird. You should also carry around 5 or 10 pesos of security money you can give to someone trying to rob you, so they are satisfied with something. I was only robbed once in Argentina, in Neuquén. The guy wanted my watch, but it’d been given to me by a convert, so I didn’t want to give it away, but I did give him some pesos and he was fine with that and walked off. It wasn’t too unsafe in the Patagonian part of Argentina. -Kempton