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

ARGENTINA / 6 SEP 2019

An operation on the border between Bolivia and Argentina revealed that criminal organizations were exchanging stolen cars for narcotics, exposing…

ARGENTINA / 23 JUN 2015

A former government advisor has asserted that corrupt officials have allowed a Peruvian-run criminal group to flourish in Buenos…

BRAZIL / 15 MAY 2012

Rio de Janeiro's Security Secretary Jose Mariano Beltrame talks police corruption, militia groups, and the next phase of the favela…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime’s Greater Focus on US-Mexico Border

20 JUL 2021

InSight Crime has decided to turn many of its investigative resources towards understanding and chronicling the criminal dynamics along the US-Mexico border.

THE ORGANIZATION

Key Arrests and Police Budget Increases Due to InSight Crime Investigations

8 JUL 2021

With Memo Fantasma’s arrest, InSight Crime has proven that our investigations can and will uncover major criminal threats in the Americas.

THE ORGANIZATION

Organized Crime’s Influence on Gender-Based Violence

30 JUN 2021

InSight Crime investigator Laura N. Ávila spoke on organized crime and gender-based violence at the launch of a research project by the United Nations Development Programme.

THE ORGANIZATION

Conversation with Paraguay Judicial Operators on PCC

24 JUN 2021

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley formed part of a panel attended by over 500 students, all of whom work in Paraguay's judicial system.

THE ORGANIZATION

Combating Environmental Crime in Colombia

15 JUN 2021

InSight Crime presented findings from an investigation into the main criminal activities fueling environmental destruction in Colombia.