A study conducted by the office of the Ombudsman of the city determined that the public service that most affects the welfare of the people –even over the presence of police– is street lighting, with 84.4% of valuation.

Taking into account the average level of satisfaction throughout the district, this appreciation makes this public facility the one with the best performance index.

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The City qualified by the residents: The traffic lights and street lighting are fine; the police and sidewalks not too much.

For many residents of the Capital, the police presence in their neighborhoods and the state of the streets and sidewalks near their homes does not meet their expectations. On the other hand, the public services better qualified by the Porteños, with the highest level of satisfaction on average, are the traffic lights and street lighting. The data comes from a survey carried out by the Ombudsman’s Office of the city last year.

The study was conducted in November. 3643 residents of all communes gave their opinion on eight elements managed by the local government. One question focused on their personal appreciation of how these benefits are provided. In order to make the assessments as concrete as possible, the interviewers referred to what happened in the blocks where the interviewees lived. The police presence was the service with the highest negative opinion. 52.3% of those interviewed said they were not satisfied with the amount of troops that usually exists in the vicinity of their homes.

The research also focused on the relevance that the residents gave to each of these services; that is, how much they contribute to their daily well-being. The presence of the police had a high level of weight. Almost 81% of the Porteños considered “very important” that there are troops in their neighborhood.

To unify both variables and evaluate the execution of each service, according to how important it is for people, the team of the Ombudsman’s Office created a so-called performance index that emerges from a mathematical equation. The commune 2, which is the Recoleta district, had the worst result on the security issue. For the residents of this area, the demand for troops is of vital importance; however, the number of police officers in the area is very low. That was the conclusion reached.

“It is not that there are no police officers, but they are not enough. There are many outbursts, especially because they take advantage of tourists,” said Maria Elena, a 55-year-old woman who rushes to work. She lives in Ayacucho in 1100, Recoleta. On the other side of the city, in Villa Lugano, there are also complaints about security. “Police officers are seen every now and then. There must be more. We cannot go outside like that,” said Alicia Altamirano.

The second worst rating was the service of maintenance and repair of streets and sidewalks. Almost half of the Porteños (48.8%) had a negative opinion about it. “Little by little, security is improving, but the problem is the sidewalks. We cannot walk,” said Carlos Lucerna, who lives near Virrey Cevallos and Alsina, in the Monserrat district. He described that the sidewalk in that place is “ruined”.

The performance index of that service was lowest in communes 12 (Saavedra, Coghlan, Villa Urquiza and Villa Pueyrredón) and 14 (Palermo). The specialists who did the reading of data considered that, probably, the dissatisfaction in these neighborhoods does not have to do with lack of maintenance, but rather by the permanent repair works that generate complaints in those areas with a lot of traffic and densely populated.

Adolfo Melaj, who lives in the Vélez Sarsfield district, did not hesitate to describe the sidewalk repair service as ‘very bad’. “It’s been almost seven years since my family and I have been demanding that they fix our block, in Cervantes 1456. This was destroyed after a pipe repair that was made in the street,” said in LA NACION. Although, he not only pointed out bad things, he also said that the street lighting in his neighborhood is ‘very good’ and is satisfied with the number of traffic lights.

Precisely, on the other side of the ranking, the availability of traffic lights has the best rating, on average, in the streets of Buenos Aires. More than half of the residents surveyed (57.5%) are satisfied with the amount that exists. However, there are those who complain about the lack of traffic lights, such as Nicolás, who lives in Palermo. “In Cabrera, for example, there are some intersections impossible to cross. No one lets you pass,” he said.

The most positive comments –in relation to the importance that people give to their well-being– were collected in the communes located geographically in the center of the city; 5 (Almagro and Boedo), 6 (Caballito) and 7 (Flores and Parque Chacabuco). In Caballito, for example, the rate of performance of the traffic lights is 80%. However, it is necessary to clarify that for residents that is the service least valued for its importance in their daily lives. The one that most affects the welfare of the people –even over the presence of police and always in accordance with the report of the Ombudsman’s Office– is street lighting, with 84.4% of valuation. Taking into account the average level of satisfaction throughout the district, this appreciation makes this public facility the one with the best performance index.

“For street lighting (index of 91.5%), there are two communes, 3 (Balvanera and San Cristóbal) and 9 (Liniers, Mataderos and Parque Avellaneda), where the service has the highest performance index; probably linked to the issue of safety, since night lighting is usually associated in a positive way with this problem,” concludes the analysis.

“Clearly, citizens need to have the security force near their block or in their neighborhood. The problem of insecurity is recurrent in the big cities of the world, where it is usually a permanent agenda item. At the other extreme, street lighting is valued positively, which is an important prevention factor,” reflected the reelected Ombudsman, Alejandro Amor.

Other variables

The waste collection has, in general, a good opinion (positive, 54.4%). It is even better in communes 4 (Nueva Pompeya, Parque Patricios, Barracas and La Boca) and 7, where it also includes the importance that residents give to the service. On the other hand, in Palermo this service is last in the ranking, with the worst performance index. The analysis shows that being one of the areas with “greater purchasing power” –what leads to more consumption and waste–, “there is probably a greater demand for this service from the residents who live there”.

Although the amount of green space available is well weighted in communes such as 12, 13 (Núñez, Belgrano and Colegiales) and 14, the lowest values of the performance index are given in communes 3 (Balvanera and San Cristóbal) and 5 (Almagro y Boedo). It is precisely these four districts that are the furthest away from the recommendations given by the World Health Organization (WHO), according to the ideal square meters of “green spaces” that there should be per person in a city.

Just under half of the Buenos Aires residents responded satisfactorily for street sweeping and cleaning services (48%), against 33%, which had a negative opinion. Meanwhile, tree care service was an element that divided the interviewees, since it received different opinions.