Peru is planning a state of emergency in Lima

To tackle crime in Lima, officials are planning to declare a state of emergency in Peru’s capital city.

National Police Peru
With a state of emergency in Lima, more officers of Peru’s National Police would be deployed to fight criminals according to the Interior Ministry | © Ministry of Interior

During a press conference about the country’s security on January 18, Peru’s Minister of Interior Avelino Guillén said the declaration of a state of emergency in Lima was on its way.

The minister is waiting for the logistical opinion of the National Police before presenting the declaration of a state of emergency to the Council of Ministers. “We look forward to it as soon as possible”, Guillén said.

Peru’s capital city suffers from organized crime and officials consider the state of emergency as a “necessary measure”. “We’re in a war against organized crime” according to the minister of Interior. His declarations were made as he presented the results of a Police operation in Callao, a city in the Lima metropolitan area, where they arrested 152 people and dismantled five criminal gangs on January 17.

According to the minister, several districts of Lima are in favor of a state of emergency.

Request for a state of emergency in a district extended to all Lima

The measure was specifically requested for 60 days by Julio Chávez, the mayor of San Martín de Porres, in light of the “excessive increase of delinquency” and “constant and uncountable criminal acts”. Venezuelans are often singled out in the offenses.

On January 13, Congress considered the mayor’s request. After debating the issue, the Congress, Peru’s unicameral legislative power, approved a motion to declare the state of emergency and decided to extend it to all Lima metropolitan areas.

San Martín de Porres is a district in the north of Lima, home to 650,000 people and the second most populous district of the capital city, where 10 million people live. In December, SMP has been subject to various violent episodes in December.

During that month, two armed individuals assaulted a driver and stole 200,000 sols (US$72,000) in a car belonging to the district municipality. A 16-year-old climbed and jumped off the 6th floor of a building to escape people with weapons according to his aunt. Two others failed their heist of a sports betting house. Two gunmen on a motorcycle shot at a group of friends, hitting a woman while targeting a man who refused to pay for a protection racket.

The ministry of Interior plans to forbid more than one person on motorbikes. Early in January, police dismantled Los vigilantes de Ayacucho, a criminal group extorting street vendors located in popular places of Lima.

Peru already in health emergency

With the state of emergency, house searches would be possible without a warrant and conditions for detention during an investigation would be easier. Public assembly would be limited, although Peru is already under a health emergency with a curfew in the capital.

More police officers would be patrolling the streets as administrative personnel would cover for them in police stations. Special task forces are expected to gain more autonomy.

In the country, the minister considers contract killings are the biggest public security issue.

According to the Ministry’s figures, police forces arrested almost 100,000 criminals, seized or destroyed 115 kg of drugs, eradicated 5,000 hectares of illegal coca leaf plantations and 326 drug labs in 2021.

Read more about Peru

Ministerio del Interior, January 2022, Free accessMunicipalidad Distrital de San Martín de Porres, Facebook, January 2022, Free access

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