Later I'll write some of the tactics I use to avoid being a victim. I know Americans aren't used to withdrawing a lot of cash but as violence gets worse it may still come in handy and people might find ways of applying it to their own high risk situations.
About the article, what Luis Vicat says is only true in a small number of cases. The mayority is just hard working people making transactions and the reason why most dont go to the police afterwads is that most Argentines know its simply a waste of time. Of course, being an ex "Bonaerense" cop himself, he's not about to admit that little detail.
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — The "marker" lurks inside the bank, looking for people pulling large amounts of cash from a safe deposit box or bank account. The gunmen linger outside, usually on motorcyles, waiting to make their move.
For people like Carolina Piparo, eight months pregnant and carrying a purse full of cash for a down payment on her first home, gangs like these are an unavoidable risk in today's Argentina, where the underground cash economy is fueling a frightening new crime wave.
The July 29 attack that left Piparo comatose and killed her child added to a toll of thousands of crime victims — 4,998 reported "withdrawal robberies" in the first half of this year alone, according to Louis Vicat, a security consultant who keeps track privately because the government hasn't published detailed crime statistics since 2007.
Many victims don't even report being robbed, because they wouldn't be able to explain to tax agents where they got the money, says Vicat, who retired as deputy internal affairs chief of the Buenos Aires provincial police.
And yet cash on the table is simply the only way to do business — even when buying homes or entire companies — for many people in Argentina.
Transferring such money electronically would solve the problem in an instant. But in a society where income tax evasion runs about 50 percent and taxes eat up 65 percent of the money people do declare, many people are reluctant to use banks that way. Even people who want to pay all their taxes have a hard time complying, because there's always someone demanding to hide all or part of the transaction by paying in cash — preferably U.S. dollars.
The attack on Piparo in provincial La Plata prompted anti-crime marches and no end of fingerpointing by police and politicians. And yet a fractured Congress failed to agree to even debate a package of weak bank security proposals last week. Despite some arrests, "withdrawal robberies" continue unabated.