Date: April 08, 2021 11:10AM
Obviously, an entire continent with 12 countries will vary from region to region. This article talks about safe and unsafe places:https://www.layerculture.com/blog/safest-places-south-america/
And even within the countries, the danger levels vary considerably.
For myself, when I served my mission in France, I was assigned for 7 months to an area in the Parisian suburban projects where the missionaries before and after me and my comps managed to run into trouble. Myself on the other hand, not so much.
Was I lucky? Perhaps a little. After all, in cleaning up some of the records of a previous set of missionaries, we managed to stumble upon one of their secrets for finding people to talk to: tracting a long-term homeless shelter. That's the only place where we had anyone get mouthy with us. We were surrounded by a bunch of youths, who probably thought they might be able to screw around with us at best, maybe rob us at worst.
I kept my cool and simply answered their questions in French. Did it help that I had really good French? Probably. When it became clear that we were friendly but boring religious types who had no money, despite our cheap suits, we proved to be an uninteresting target.
It took us going to the building to figure out that it was a shelter, and we never went back after.
The missionaries after us were robbed. They cut through the middle of a block - the blocks had open park-like squares in the middle - and were set upon. They only lost their money. The ones before were hit up on a train in late hours.
Situational awareness was key, and not all the missionaries knew how to practice it:
- Not going into areas that the locals told you were dangerous was a good start. Not riding around after dark.
- Avoiding tricks like people blocking your path by dropping money on the ground and stooping over in front of you - when they do that, there's another guy who's the dip, trying to pick your pocket.
- Avoiding scammers with sob stories who want you to go anywhere with them.
- In our case, avoiding anywhere you saw the CRS (French SWAT teams) massing. My comp and I beat feet the one time we saw that happening. We were out of there as fast as the locals - hightailing it to a major road and back to our apartment.
This would probably be good advice to have on a Mormon website, now that I think about it. Maybe some of the people who served in Latin America can chime in.