¡Hola, El Perú!:”armed robberies, rapes, other…”

COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Peru is a developing country with an expanding tourism sector. A wide variety of tourist facilities and services is available, with quality varying according to price and location. Read the Department of State Background Notes on Peru for additional information.

When we read the full notes of the State Department, we became very wary of Peru, especially Lima. I have read even more post-trip, and the individual writings gets even wilder. Being pick-pocketed, mugged or worse IS NOT a joke. But neither is denigrating an entire country, or a city, simply because tourists forgot a foreign county, much less an unfamiliar American city, is not Disneyland. I don’t know why people who travel don’t think about that before. Spending money, is not visiting a country, being a guest is a privilege.

  • Be aware of your surroundings and try to avoid unlit or unpopulated areas especially at night. There is a lot of petty crime that can turn violent. Avoid groups of male youngsters since there are many small gangs trying to rob passers-by. If you witness a robbery. be very careful before intervening, since robbers may be armed and are quite prone to shooting if they feel threatened.
  • Armed robberies of tourists are fairly common.
  • Sporadic incidents of Shining Path violence have occurred. . .

Oh shit, the Shining Path! When I read that one, I really started to freak out! It was like the end of Godard’s Weekend. Tourists will be captured, butchered and then eaten by the Shining Path. OMG.

CRIME: Of the approximately 375,000 Americans who visit Peru each year, a small but growing number have been victims of serious crimes. The information below is intended to raise awareness of the potential for crime and suggest measures visitors can take to avoid becoming a victim.

  • Violent crime, including carjacking, assault, sexual assault, and armed robbery is common in Lima and other large cities.

  • Thieves often smash car windows at traffic lights to grab jewelry, purses, backpacks, or other visible items from a car. This type of assault is very common on main roads leading to Lima’s Jorge Chavez International Airport, specifically along De la Marina and Faucett Avenues and Via de Evitamiento, but it can occur anywhere in congested traffic, particularly in downtown Lima. . .
  • The Embassy is aware of “express kidnappings” by taxi drivers against foreign tourists in Arequipa and Cuzco.

Yipes! One report even said, have the driver pop the trunk, and check the back seat before getting in! Image trying that one in New York, Rome or Paris. The driver would put their foot on the accelerator, long before you realized how nuts he thought you were! When we went back to the airport, I thought about this smash and grab technique, so many pedestrians weave in and out of traffic, like so many New Yorkers.

But this is not to understate the importance of being aware and using your head. At one point, in our nice Miraflores area, we were walking north of El Parque del Amor, in the middle of nowhere surrounded by a bunch of potheads, which made me a little uncomfortable. The same happened at one point along Salida a Miguel Grau in Barranco, which kind of had that scrubbed down feeling of parts of LA. The standing rule should be, if you feel uncomfortable, leave. Parts of Lima, are real dilapidated and poor, reminding me of parts of the old Bronx or Brooklyn. When investment comes this sections will be bulldozed to become a new city. Places like Barranco will be gentrified and become something else.

These beautiful structures will someday recreate the charm the district once enjoyed

From our standpoint, we walked freely around San Isidro, Barranco and Miraflores. The later at night when most times people were on the streets. We were at the Museo Larco in Pueblo Libre. No, we did not go freely to Rimac, El Centro or the notorious La Victoria. No more than I would visit Brownsville, parts of central DC, or parts of Miami or Orlando.

We were also happy in the end to be in Cuzco, which appeared to be extremely safe within the area we stayed south of Plaza Mejor, and traveled around by evening in. One fancy hotel across from Santo Domingo, I think, San Agustin Internacional, did have an armed guard. Most street people were Quechua women, who sat on the streets in the cool of evening with bags of wares to sell, and once in a while small children who sat with them.

I am glad the Department of State published a report, but scaring the bejeebers out of you, is somewhat counterproductive to visiting another country. I though traveling was supposed to be  to learn something about your own way of life in comparison to how others live. See the information below.

The table below was provided by the UN. It gives indicators of robberies per country per hundred thousand people. Check out the countries and figures in red. Peru (156) sits a little above the U.S. (142) in robberies per hundred thousand. Its neighbor Chile (180), European France (172) and North American Mexico (505), all show higher crime figures.

International Human Development Indicators

Accessed: 2/2/2011,1:09 PM from: http://hdr.undp.org

Robbery rate (per 100,000)

Amount of property crime that involves the use of violence or threat of violence, including mugging, bag snatching and theft with violence, expressed per 100,000 people.
Source: UNODC (2010). [“United Nations Survey of Crime Trends and Operations of Criminal Justice Systems 2003-08”.]
HDI Rank Country 2008
1 Norway 34 1 
2 Australia 78 1 
3 New Zealand 53 1 
4 United States 142 1 
5 Ireland 56 1 
6 Liechtenstein 3 1 
7 Netherlands 84 1 
8 Canada 97 1 
9 Sweden 97 1 
10 Germany 61 1 
11 Japan 3 1 
12 Korea (Republic of) 10 1 
13 Switzerland 56 1 
14 France 172 1 
15 Israel 40 1 
16 Finland 32 1 
17 Iceland 14 1 
18 Belgium 1,837 1 
19 Denmark 62 1 
20 Spain 1,067 1 
21 Hong Kong, China (SAR) ..
22 Greece 26 1 
23 Italy 122 1 
24 Luxembourg 68 1 
25 Austria 62 1 
26 United Kingdom 282 1 
27 Singapore 22 1 
39 Bahrain 39 1 
40 Portugal 195 1 
43 Bahamas ..
44 Lithuania 104 1 
45 Chile 180 1 
46 Argentina 859 1 
47 Kuwait ..
48 Latvia 64 1 
49 Montenegro 13 1 
50 Romania 12 1 
51 Croatia 28 1 
52 Uruguay 277 1 
53 Libyan Arab Jamahiriya ..
54 Panama 38 1 
55 Saudi Arabia ..
56 Mexico 505 1 
57 Malaysia 82 1 
58 Bulgaria 38 1 
59 Trinidad and Tobago ..
60 Serbia 37 1 
61 Belarus 69 1 
62 Costa Rica 527 1 
63 Peru 156 1 
1 Data refer to the most recent year available during the period specified.
.. Data not available
(.) Greater (or less) than zero but small enough to be rounded off to zero at the displayed number of decimal points
< Less than
Not applicable
T Total

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2 Responses to “¡Hola, El Perú!:”armed robberies, rapes, other…””

  1. methylethyl Says:

    haha! We had the same experience before traveling to Peru. “Are you sure this is a good idea?” But in the end we figured it wasn’t really any more dangerous than going to NYC or LA, or even some of the parts of Boston I’ve lived in, so… whatever. Everyone has warned us about the taxis, but since it’s so much more fun to take the buses, it’s not something we have had to worry about at all. I’ve learned to mostly ignore the “OMG panic now!” warnings. The tough part is getting my parents back in the US to ignore them!

  2. thinkvisual Says:

    We got to know one cab driver, but walked a lot. Which gives you a great understanding of any city. The express kidnapping thing really has to be rare. Hope you enjoyed it, we did!

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