Our 'Neighbourhood Watch' or guardia/vigilante is more privacy invasion than deterrent

  • When we first moved to this house in 2011 we were told that an old gent acted as a vigilante deterrent, as are very common in the streets of the BA suburbs and we agreed to pay the communal fee, albeit against my better judgement. True to form and when we had maybe slipped and paid late, he began to harass Adri for money, at which point I warned him never to ask her again. I also withdrew from the scheme as we were clearly subsidising a vagrant, who we soon learned was actually living in the guardia hut and did nothing all day except shout with his mates, cough up phlegm and spit in the street constantly and invite all his mates to noisy get-togethers at all hours, within no more than five meters from our front door.

    The neighbours used him as a slave to fetch and carry and to do odd jobs, whilst I spent an inordinate amount of time telling him to shut the fuck up, which he then complained about to the rest of the neighbours, who then came out on his side. One even did the El Ingles angle, much to my amusement. Needless to say, we don't have very friendly neighbours, not one of whom came over to say hello when we first moved in.

    It's also worth pointing out that any incident that took place, including my mother in law being mugged right outside our front door and a woman having her bike stolen at gunpoint, sent him running back to his hut with his tail between his legs.

    Fast forward to July 2017 and the old man was taken ill and collected by his family never to return, which sent the neighbours into a tailspin; they no longer had anyone to fetch and carry for them, not to mention the false sense of phony security they seemed to garner from this bizarre situation, so they grouped together and invested in halogen spotlights and alarms, with everyone having their own panic button. With the street already lit up like a Christmas tree, the horrendous new lights gave the street a prison camp look and I objected to the whole fiasco, but they went ahead anyway.

    Fortunately I had an ally and he reported the whole thing to the local council and had them disconnect one of the systems on a lamp post directly in front of his bedroom. The sirens go off regularly and are ear splitting.

    Some weeks after we got back from the UK last July, they hired what appeared to be a proper security guard in full uniform, very affable and professional. In other words he was avisible deterrent.

    I know violent crime is a problem here, so I didn't object this time and we subscribed. A couple of months later he disappeared because one of the neighbours took a dislike to him because he wouldn't fetch and carry for them and a few days later a new bloke arrived who is so fat he can barely walk, invites all his mates over to the hut (sound familiar?), has his kids over shouting and screaming and lolls around on an easy chair in Bermuda shorts, which is a sight I still can't erase from my memory. He also brought back the shouting from previous years as if everything requires to be shouted at maximum volume day and night. You almost feel these people in your fucking house, so I've again had to go out and tell them to shut the fuck up (in Spanish). This has dragged on for months, I've withdrawn our payments which the neighbours incredibly decided to increase recently to $1500 a month and we're back to square one with this overweight man who has no desire to deter anything, changing his shift to nights, where he sleeps until dawn.

    Last night was the final straw, when I woken by him at four this morning, not three meters from our bedroom window shouting into a cellphone and giving directions to some people who were lost. And I mean shouting.

    I have to say that I did lose my rag when I approached him in the hut and told him he should just go and never come come back.

    The neighbours have a Whatsapp group of which I'm not a member (Adri is), so yet again I'm waiting for the jungle drums to drone on again. Frankly, these neighbours baffle me, since paying for a waste of time and something that simply doesn't exist, but is the opposite of what it is intended for, seems like utter madness to me.

    This is one of the main reasons we have to move house, amongst others.

    Rant over...for now.

  • Here's a brief update on the so called neighbourhood watch solution, so loved by our neighbours.

    The fat man is still employed by the residents at a rate of around $2000 per month, bearing in mind that we withdrew from the scheme practically from the beginning.

    Since my post last May, I've had to confront him on numerous occasions simply to tell him to shut the fuck up, delivered mainly in Spanish and also English for added effect. Last night, past midnight. I couldn't sleep due to the racket coming from his hut, so I wandered over to find him asleep in front of the TV (the windows don't have glass), which was a sight I'd rather erase. "Turn the fucking volume down or else!" was all I managed, but it had the required effect.

    When I was in the UK, Adri's lad parked his car next to the hut and had his number plates stolen whilst the bloke was asleep in the hut. I need say no more.

    Jan mentioned boludeces (idiocies?) in another post and this falls squarely into that category. It's an idiocy to pay someone to sleep in a wooden hut as some kind of vigilante when cleartly they are of no deterrent value whatsoever.

    It's this central theme that I simply cannot understand in the psyche of our neighbours, especially given the current economic climate. Money for nothing.

  • Many of these security guys are more risky than good.......

    Its well-known that many are selling out info to the bad guys, when is house empty, which people living there, wealthyness etc etc ......

    Same as by the bank....the ones in the bank that knows about larger transactions, sells out that info.....and wupsi, by a coincidence the victims get caught on the way home with their cash.

    Also it's a quite well-known fact is that the security guys in larger buildings have a looooot info about the apartments and their tenants......same in gated communities........wouldn't be first time there where involved in crooked stuff.

    I live in one of the most secure neighborhoods in BA According to numbers, anyway, I have several small things I do to confuse possible Intruders.....parking car around corner or different places, different timers on light in house and and and......

    So to sum it up: yes, it's boludeces, the guy in the hut!!! :)

  • I agree with most of that @JAN

    In fact I've been warned by the neighbours on several occasions not to piss off these so called security types, as they'd be likely to bring in their friends from the villa down the road.

    This is typical Argentine paranoia in my opinion. Obviously I'm careful about security, but I refuse to live my life according to the suspicions of others.

    If the fat man falls out of line, he gets it from me, no question.

  • Yea probably best just to have no encounter or relation with them!

    Here in my street there is two houses "casa tomada"....or say people that have occupied free plots.....they had been behind several robberies in houses here back in time......but at a certain point several of the neighbors had scared them off quite well....they were blasted out with gunfire in some houses.....now it seems they do not rob that much in our street! And again, where I live, TIGRE center, is super super tranquilo, not comparable to some of the other suburbs like matanza, Quilmes etc. I think most people here are armed, and I also like to b on the safe side...8|

  • The fat man is still employed by the residents at a rate of around $2000 per month, bearing in mind that we withdrew from the scheme practically from the beginning.

    Once upon a time (in the 80-90's) my husband lived in Zona Norte in a residential area. Those shacks/security cabins were (and are) at every corner. The neighbours paid the guy to 'monitor' the street. It was not clear who decided to put a cabin and how the guard was chosen.

    After some years one of the guards decided to sue the neighbours because he was employed 'en negro' and no contribution was ever paid for his pension. Duh!

    He filed the suit against all people having a house on 'his' street(s), regardless of their age and residency.

    My husband and his sister were kids and lived abroad, but they figured on the ABL bill even if the house was sold many years before when they moved abroad. Apparently, the new owner never updated the ABL...

    When we arrived here 5 years ago, my sister in law warned us to reject any 'carta documento' in my husband's name because this guy was sending notices to neighbours.

    My husband promptly managed to change the name on the ABL to avoid this from happening every again.

    It is not clear when this 'guard' was working on their former street, if when they were living there or after.


  • Wait - EACH HOUSEHOLD pays him 2000 pesos per month? Does the same man sit there 24/7 like a corpulent vulture sitting on his nest, or is this amount shared by two shifts per day? How many households are paying? Are there any others who refuse the shakedown?

  • Reminds me of a scruffy little sod who lives in a brick hovel across the road from the main entrance to the cemetery here. Despite looking 70 he seems to have a young wife and kids running about amongst the junk he's collected over the years.

    Anyone who parks their car to visit their loved ones grave is 'set upon' by him demanding money in return for 'looking after their car'. Which is laughable considering its location. The wife told him to bugger off and has since used to other entrance anytime she's had to go and lay flowers.