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Crime and Safety

Peru - Crime and Safety


Emergency numbers in Peru are 011 / 5114. In Lima ring 105. In Lima and some of the larger cities there is a sort of local police called "Serenazgo": you may ask for help but they have no tourist oriented services.

- 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 passerbys. 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.
- A dirty old backpack with valuable contents is safer than a new one with old clothes in it. It's often good not to look too rich.
- Some travelers don't use wallets, but keep the bills and coins directly in their pocket. Let's say some little bills on the left side and the rest on the right side. Thus, the pickpocket's job gets much harder.
- Don't walk around with debit- or creditcards in your pocket. Leave them in a safe place, when you do not directly need them, because tourists have been kidnapped and forced to take out money each day for a period of a few days.
- If you want to take large amounts of cash out with you, a neck wallet is always a good idea - you can hide it under your shirt.
- Watch out for false bills. Every bank has posters that explain what to check when getting higher valued bills. The only security element that has not been falsified is the bichrome 10,20,50,100 or 200 now also used on US$ bills. Don't be shy about checking any bills you receive. Most Peruvians do so, too. You may get false bills even at upscale places or (quite unusually, but it's been known to happen) banks, so check there too.
- Ignore any requests to carry luggage or packages for strangers. There could be illegal items or drugs in there, and you are the one who'll be caught with them and have the problems afterwards.
- It's also illegal to "consider to maybe accept" an offer to buy drugs. If you are offered drugs, be careful: it might easily be a trap from police, and sentences are harsh for drugs. The best thing, if offered, is simply to just say no. Some police officers will tell you that it's legal to hold some amount of marijuana, but well, just don't trust them.
- When taking a taxi, take a quick look in the backseat, and in the trunk, to make sure there is nobody hiding there. There've been reports of armed robberies/kidnappings taking place in taxis. Afterwards, tourists are blindfolded and driven outside the city and left behind by the highway.
- At the border crossing from Ecuador (Huaquillas) to Peru people have tried to steal passports by acting like plainclothes police officers. They give you another form to fill in which is fake. This has taken place although police and customs personnel have been next to them.

Police

- Tourist police are dressed in white shirts, instead of the usual green ones, and normally speak English and are quite helpful to tourists. The common police officer does not speak other language but Spanish but normally will try to help. DO NOT get in an argument with police, since they may forget about your needs and feel insulted.

Dealing with the police can take a lot of time. In order to get a copy of a police report you need to go to a Banco de la NaciĆ³n and pay 3 soles. Without this the police won't give you a copy, and obviously you can only arrange this during working days. Police officers will often tell you things that are just plain false, so that you will waste a lot of time trying to get a copy.


Embassies

- Check the address of your country's embassy or consulate before you go. If you're planning a lengthy stay it's also a good idea to register with your country's embassy.

British Embassy, Torre Parque Mar (Piso 22), Avenida Jose Larco, 1301, Miraflores, Lima. (51) (1) 617 3000
Canadian Embassy, Calle Libertad 130, Miraflores, Lima 18, Peru Tel.: (51) (1) 444-4015 Toll-Free (within the country): 0-800-50602 Fax: (51) (1) 242-4050
French Embassy, Av. Arequipa 3415 - San Isidro, Lima. (51) (1) 215 8400
German Embassy, Avda. Arequipa 4210, Miraflores, Lima. (51) (1) 212 5016
Italian Embassy, Av. Gregorio Escobedo 298 - Jesus Maria, Lima. (51) (1) 463 2727 - [night and holidays emergency ph#: (51) (1) 891 7557]
US Embassy, Avenida La Encalada cdra. 17 s/n, Surco, Lima 33. (51) (1) 434 3000


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