Peru: Crime

Mountainous terrain, vast coastal deserts and steamy, tropical rainforests

Peru Crime

Peru has had something of a reputation for crime, so you will need to take precautions when travelling there. Having said that, you should avoid trouble by exercising a reasonable amount of caution and common sense. It is not a good idea to wander around the most crowded parts of Lima and other large cities carrying your camera and other valuables in a way that they can be easily robbed. Pick-pocketing and snatch thieving are quite common in such situations. For example, it is not unknown for tourists in Lima to have expensive wrist watches removed from them on the street, without their even noticing it.

Be on the lookout for deliberate distractions, such as boys having a fight in the street, someone bumping into you, or spilling a liquid over you. These are often done by a group or pair of thieves, one of whom will then rob you while your attention is elsewhere. Never put your bag on the floor or a seat in a crowded bus or rail station without keeping hold of it in some way. Some thieves will resort to slashing your bag or rucksack with a blade in order to get at what is inside.

For this reason, you will see some tourists carrying their packs on their chests, rather than their backs. Beware of scams; in some places you may be stopped by plain-clothed “policemen”, who may ask you to go with you in their car, hand over money, or give them your passport. Never do this. Always insist on walking to the police station if they persist. Having said this, you will find the tourist police in Peru generally helpful towards you, and not at all corrupt.