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Petty theft is a problem in larger cities and bus terminals and at beach resorts in summer, so always keep a close eye on all belongings. Photographing military installations is strictly prohibited. Chile's stray canines are a growing problem. Scabies can be common in street dogs; don't pet those that have bad skin problems, it's highly contagious.
If driving, be prepared for dogs barking and running after the bumper. Bring along insect repellent and wear light-colored clothing. Earthquakes are a fact of life for most Chileans. Local construction often does not meet seismic safety standards; adobe buildings tend to be especially vulnerable.
The unpredictability of quakes means there is little that a traveler can do to prepare. Active volcanoes are less likely to threaten safety, since they usually give some warning. Nevertheless, unexpected eruptions in recent years have the country monitoring volcanoes more closely than ever. Many of Chile's finest beaches have dangerous offshore rip currents, so ask before diving in and make sure someone onshore knows your whereabouts. In winter, the smog in Santiago can become a health risk.
The city declares 'pre-emergency' or 'emergency' states when the level of smog is dangerously high and takes measures to limit emissions. Children, senior citizens and people with respiratory problems should avoid trips to downtown Santiago at these times. Crime is more concentrated in the dense urban areas, though picks up in tourist destinations in summer. Those staying in cabins should close and lock windows before heading out, particularly in popular resort towns.
At the beach, be alert for pickpockets and avoid leaving valuables around while you go for a swim. Never leave an unattended car unlocked, leave seats and floors bare and keep all valuables in the trunk. Don't fall for distractions, such as a tap on the shoulder, spitting or getting something spilled on you; these 'accidents' are often part of a team effort to relieve you of some valuables.