Summary: The Peruvian government has declared a state of emergency in three districts due to a rise in crime. This allows the military to assist local law enforcement in suppressing crime, but it also suspends certain constitutional rights. Some lawmakers are calling for even stricter measures, while the US State Department rates Peru as Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution due to crime, civil unrest, and kidnapping.
Is It Safe to Travel to Peru After the September 2023 State of Emergency Declaration?
The Peruvian government recently declared a state of emergency in three districts due to a significant increase in crime. This decision allows the military to assist local law enforcement in suppressing crime, but it also suspends certain constitutional rights. However, some lawmakers believe that these emergency measures are not sufficient and are calling for even stricter actions, similar to those taken in El Salvador. The US State Department has also issued a travel advisory for Peru, rating it as Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution due to crime, civil unrest, and the possibility of kidnapping.
Challenges in Maintaining Citizen Security
The mayors of the affected districts requested the state of emergency designation due to significant challenges in maintaining citizen security. The recent hand grenade attack in San Juan de Lurigancho, which left 15 injured, further highlighted the need for immediate action. However, some right-wing lawmakers believe that the emergency measures are insufficient and are advocating for the government to hand complete law enforcement powers over to the military, as done in El Salvador.
Travel Advisory and Safety Precautions
Both the US State Department and Britain’s Foreign Office have issued travel advisories for Peru. Visitors are advised to exercise increased caution, as crime, civil unrest, and kidnappings are common in the country. Protests in Peru can disrupt transportation and visitors are advised to avoid participating in them. Foreign nationals are prohibited from participating in political protests. In areas where the state of emergency has been declared, travelers should follow instructions given by the military or local law enforcement.
It is important for travelers to be aware of the risks and take necessary safety precautions while visiting Peru. Crime, including mugging, pickpocketing, purse-snatching, and kidnappings, is prevalent in the country. Express kidnappings, where victims are abducted for a short period and forced to withdraw money from ATMs, are also a common form of crime. Stolen cell phones are often used to extort ransoms from victims’ family members.