Safety in Buenos Aires

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  • Last night, in San Isidro on Av. Libertador, my husband was assaulted by a drunken/drugged cartonera after he refused to give her some money. It was about 1 AM and he was sitting in his the car, ready to drive back to Capital after taking home an ill friend from the hospital.


    He was first approached by two male cartoneros asking for "some coins" while walking toward the car. He said he didn't have any on him and went into his car. Then a female cartonera approached him at the car window, asking again for money. He lowered the car windows to say he didn't have any. The lady then slipped her hand through the car window and slapped him violently on the face, scratching his face and neck, breaking his glasses, that fell into the car.


    From the bruises on his neck, he supposes she was trying to grab a necklace he didn't have (we do not wear any jewellery, ever). As my husband proceeded to start the car and run away, she repeatedly hit the car with her hands in disappointment. A zombie-like move as seen in apocalyptical video games.


    He didn't file a report with the police since it was late in the night and in the end they wouldn't do anything. They definitely wouldn't arrest a lady for a slap, and at most they would simply take her to the Commissary, ask her some questions, and let her free again. A useless exercise and a waste of time for everyone.


    This is the first violence we ever suffered in 9 years. I am glad that the aggression was just with bare hands and that my husband made it rather unscathed. However, he is rather shocked and it will just make him even bitter toward anyone asking for money on the street, which is something that happen regularly. We have pepper spray, but he didn't have it on him yesterday.

    Had the cartonera had a knife or a bat, the outcome would have been very different...

  • How scary and unsettling! Even pepper spray might not have helped with a car window attack, as it could have hit the window and incapacitated your husband as well as the crazed attacker. Glad he was able to drive home without his glasses!

  • I am sorry for this nuisance. And the worst is that you were in San Isidro, not in La Matanza.

    As regards my experience, I never was assaulted nor beaten by cartoneros or other individuals. and I was born in BA many years ago. Perhaps I am very fortunate.

  • I saw pepper spray on sale in Bariloche a few weeks ago in an outdoors camping kind of shop.

    Now here the thing. In the UK it’s considered a serious weapon and entirely illegal. Hence my question is, is it’s possession and use considered similar in Argentina to the US? That is to say it is fine to carry and use it in self defence?

    I'm not into carrying self defence 'weapons' personally. To be honest there's really no need to where I live. Here a brusque ''what the F*** do you want'' in English is sufficient!! 😁

  • That is to say it is fine to carry and use it in self defence?

    Their sale is allowed and they are considered "armas", but anyone over 18 can buy them and use them in self-defense. You can find them on Mercadolibre for a few dollars. Look for "spray pimienta".

    They cannot be taken on planes, though.

    Ours sprays up to a distance of about 2 meters.


    I'm not into carrying self defence 'weapons' personally. To be honest there's really no need to where I live. Here a brusque ''what the F*** do you want'' in English is sufficient!! 😁

    I don't think the lady who assaulted my husband would be impressed by your skills at English, tbh! :th_giggle01:


    Sorry to hear that. Is that area normally dodgy at night?

    Not any less than anywhere else here. And it doesn't take much to make a safe place unsafe: one person with bad intentions is enough.

  • So sorry for you and your husband. Really saddens me that regular activities are no longer safe. I took a friend to one of our cities, for his doctor visit, I had to remind him not to take out his pack of cigarettes on the street. Why? He asked. Go ahead I said, pull them out and hand me a fag. They came like vultures! :rimg: :rimg: Crazed, drugged out, violent. This is society in decay. I cary bear spray strength now when I go to the city. Sad.

  • So sorry for you and your husband. Really saddens me that regular activities are no longer safe. I took a friend to one of our cities, for his doctor visit, I had to remind him not to take out his pack of cigarettes on the street. Why? He asked. Go ahead I said, pull them out and hand me a fag. They came like vultures! :rimg: :rimg: Crazed, drugged out, violent. This is society in decay. I cary bear spray strength now when I go to the city. Sad.

    Must admit the only negative experience I've ever had in Buenos Aires took place in the subte. It was during rush hour and standing room only when I felt something on my leg. Turned out the puny spectacled bloke standing next to me was trying to open the cargo pocket in my trousers. He soon sussed I was on to hm so he jumped off at the ñext statíon. Other than that I've never had a problem. Mind you at night we tend to stick to the area where the apartment is which is pretty safe as it can be.

  • New here and not arriving to BA for another six weeks but, I am leaving Chicago where violence and crime is totally out of control. In the past 24 hours there have been 3 incidents of roving youth gangs assaulting pedestrians and causing so much mayhem that ‘Michigan Av” - the ‘best, richest street in town’ had to shut down for police to clear the activity.

    Here, I am licensed to carry a firearm and do so even to walk 3 blocks to market. (I realize I may not do so in Argentina, thankfully, leaving that behind). This is the ‘best’ part of town, on Navy Pier/Gold Coast.

    April to date, 28 people shot and killed here. The incident you describe, here in Chicago, would have involved a gun and an idiot willing to shoot you in the face for a cel phone.

    I believe there is no perfect place and it is all relative.