HomeNewsBriefGun Stolen Every 48 Hours from Argentina Police: Report
BRIEF

Gun Stolen Every 48 Hours from Argentina Police: Report

ARGENTINA / 18 MAR 2015 BY LOREN RIESENFELD EN

Police in the Buenos Aires province of Argentina lose a firearm every 48 hours, according to a report from a government commission, further damaging the credibility of a police force beset by years of allegations of impropriety.

Based on statistics from the Ministry of Security, the Provincial Memory Commission (Comision Provincial por la Memoria - CPM) found that over 900 firearms disappeared in the last five years from the Buenos Aires provincial police, La Nacion reported.

At official exchange rates, the value for a typical police pistol is around $740, a large windfall for potential black-market sellers. While the vast majority of guns are reportedly stolen from officers, brazen criminals have also broken into police stations and looted weapons caches. In October 2014, for instance, one group forced open a police armory and made off with guns, ammunition, and bulletproof vests while officers were out “patrolling the streets,” according to La Nacion.

In 38 percent of gun disappearances, officers were off-duty and the loss or theft happened at home or from a vehicle. The revelations prompted Buenos Aires Security Minister Alejandro Granados to commit to reducing the number of “idle” firearms available to police, according to La Nacion. If more lethal force is necessary, only specially trained units will have access to heavier weaponry, Granados added.

Provincial police have gone on the defensive since the CPM’s report. Internal Affairs auditor Viviana Arcidiacono told La Nacion that with 50,000 officers on the streets, the number of missing weapons “is not so big.” She also said the penalties for losing a weapon are high, so officers are very careful.

InSight Crime Analysis

The CPM report further damages the credibility of the provincial police, which has undergone years of restructuring and purges of thousands of corrupt officers. These same police have been accused of acting more like a “mafia” than a police force, due to allegations of brutality and corruption within the ranks. 

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Argentina

But losing firearms is not unique to the provincial police. In 2012, a government report found the armed forces lost 400 firearms in a two-year period, including some heavy weaponry that later turned up in Brazil.

In regards to the CPM report, police cited by La Nacion think the weapons may end up on the black market in the suburbs of Buenos Aires, which have higher rates of violence than the city.

Still, the number of lost and stolen police weapons is a drop in the bucket when compared to the estimated number of illegal firearms in Argentina, which ranges from 700,000 to 2 million.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 4 MAR 2021

Santa Catarina is a launchpad for cocaine destined for Europe and a transit point for marijuana and contraband headed to…

JAMAICA / 1 APR 2021

After recording the highest murder rate in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2020, Jamaica is already seeing an uptick…

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 25 FEB 2021

Amambay is at the heart of Paraguay’s most worrying organized crime trends: cocaine trafficking, marijuana production, and the rise of…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…