Though many Argentines believe assaults, rapes, homicide, and property crimes are increasing, Argentina is a safe country by most standards. Because porteños and other Argentines keep late hours, there are plenty of people on the street at most times, and rarely will you find yourself walking alone down a dark alleyway.
Still, certain precautions almost go without saying—most crimes are crimes of opportunity. Never leave luggage unattended, store valuables in a hotel safe, keep close watch on your belongings at sidewalk cafés, and carry a photocopy of your passport with the date of entry into the country. Leave valuable jewelry at home, keep conspicuous items such as photo and video cameras out of sight as much as possible, and do not carry large amounts of cash (money belts or leg pouches are good alternatives for hiding cash). Do not presume that any area is totally secure.
If you should be accosted by anyone with a firearm or other potentially lethal weapon, do not resist. While guns are uncommon—knives are the weapon of choice—and truly violent crime against tourists is unusual, misjudgments can be lethal. Certain barrios are more crime-prone than others.
Most common is the crime of distraction, in which an individual bumps into the victim and spills a substance like ice cream or mustard; while the perpetrator apologizes profusely, his or her accomplice surreptitiously lifts items of value. Pickpocketing is also common on crowded public transportation; carry wallets and other valuable items in a front trouser pocket or, even better, an interior jacket pocket.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Argentina, 3rd edition