A shocking 114 people have died as a result of robberies in Buenos Aires province this year, with one violent death every 54 hours, translating into one death every 2.25 days, according to statistics released yesterday by Clarín.
Seven out of every 10 victims die from gunshot wounds, illustrating the prevalence of gun use in violent crime. The Buenos Aires province district of La Matanza (which translates to “slaughter”), the province’s most populous, has by far the highest levels of homicide in the Greater Buenos Aires region.
As shocking as they are, the numbers do not represent a sizeable change from 2015, when there were 107 deaths in the first eight months of last year compared to 109 this year. There have also been a notable increase in the number of cases of self-defence ending in the death of the original attacker, although those cases are not taken into account in the statistics.
Robberies are just one of the things that Buenos Aires has to worry about. There have also been 161 reported cases of extortions linked to kidnappings in the first eight months of the year, according to statistics compiled by the Attorney General’s Office. Although it is shocking, the number represents a 31.6 percent drop from last year.
The lack of reliable statistics on crime has long been a problem and the government has launched an effort to measure criminal activity in conjunction with the Indec national statistics agency. The goal is to include instances where no formal complaints are made, in order to get a broader picture of the problem.
It will be more difficult to root out the ramifications of the problem from within the system itself. According to a number of judicial investigations, some sectors of the police force are known to leave certain areas free of law enforcement to give robbers free rein. A total of 1,867 officers have been fired in Buenos Aires province over the past nine months for committing various irregularities.