Lima - Post Report Question and Answers

Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Crime threat is critical, which means don't openly display jewelry, expensive cell phones, etc. on the street. Armed home invasions so far are not a thing, unlike some other places I've lived. That said, if you're in a house lock your doors and set the alarm when you go out, because if you don't, the local criminals are likely smarter than you and may clean you out. - Jul 2022

It's a high crime country, but if you use the same strategies to avoid being a target as you do in Washington, DC or other cities, you'll be fine. We lock our doors and use our alarm system, have trained our household help to avoid scams by phone or at the door, and lock our car doors with windows up while driving. We feel very safe walking around day or night and haven't experienced any problems. That being said, we have heard of some houses in the embassy community in La Molina and even in our own neighborhood (non-embassy homes) have been robbed/cleaned, out while folks go on vacation. The robberies aren't violent, but they are well-planned and thorough. One needs to be vigilant and follow the RSO advisory. - Oct 2018

Yes, Lima is a high crime post. It's all about situational awareness. We had friends and co-workers robbed at gunpoint. Smash and grabs on the way to the airport were a common occurrence. Cell phones were a hot ticket item. We were lucky and never had any security problems while we were there. - Mar 2018

Plenty - always be on the look out for "smash and grabs." Phones are stolen constantly. - Apr 2017

Petty crime is present, but not a major issue. There is a lot of fear mongering and most expats have a vested interest in making it sound more dangerous than it actually is ($$$). The area of Callao, close to the airport, presents some real security challenges and there are frequent reports of robberies of people going to and from the airport. In San Isidro/Miraflores the risks are minimal. - Jul 2016

Yes - several Embassy employees have been victims of theft or home invasions, sometimes at gunpoint. There are security restrictions on travel in some areas. - Sep 2015

Lima is a critical crime threat post. You need to be security-conscious all of the time. Recently, there was an armed robbery on my street. There have been a many armed robberies on the Malecon, the oceanfront boardwalk in Miraflores. You need to be aware of your surroundings. That said, many Peruvians have said joggers wearing nothing but workout clothes (and probably no Iphone) will never be mugged. Here it's about opportunity crime, not idealism or terrorism or kidnapping. - Sep 2015

There are still some regions of Peru where there are remnants of the Shining Path, who nowadays are more about narcotrafficking than any political ideology. For tourists, the bigger threat are pickpockets and petty theft. "Smash and grab" is popular in the seedier parts of Lima, but being "self aware" and avoiding nastier neighborhoods (as you would in any large city) will limit the risk. We have never felt our security threatened the entire time we've been here, whether in Lima or in outlying areas as we traveled the country. - May 2015

Lima does have some unsafe areas, but it really isn't something I think about. I feel completely comfortable walking around the city (and I'm very American looking). - Apr 2015

Yes, but where we live we don't feel it too much. - Sep 2014

Yes. Terrorism is mostly confined to some lawless areas in and east of the Andes. Crime in Lima itself is rampant. All housing has grills over every window and door. Electrified fences surround the houses. Embassy employees have been robbed at gunpoint. Break-ins still happen despite the security measures. On the other hand, carjacking is unlikely to happen as the traffic is so bad that carjackers wouldn't be able to drive away. Smash and grab through car windows is very common. - Apr 2014

Lima is a high crime city with home break-ins and robberies. Violent crime is less common, but it does occur. It depends on the neighborhood. I feel very safe in the upper class neighborhoods, but the situation is different in poorer communities. - Mar 2014

I do not personally know anyone who's been a victim of crime, but Smash n' grabs, kidnapping and pickpockets are common according to RSO. I take some basic precautions, including: not wearing my wedding ring in public, using a purse with an over-the-shoulder-strap, keeping my purse on my lap when eating, only using marked taxis and never putting my cell phone on the table. - Aug 2013

Crimes of opportunity (e.g. petty theft on the street) throughout the city and house break-ins in the suburbs are fairly common, but most of it is in line with other major cities, and is perfectly normal for South America. - Jul 2013

There is a high crime rate in Lima. Home break-ins, smash-and-grabs in vehicles, and petty crimes are common. Be aware of your surroundings and you should be fine. - Jul 2013

Yes, taxis will kidnap you and take you to the ATM. There are assaults and robberies. If you stay alert you can be safe. - Jun 2013

There are some security concerns. Local Peruvian news-channels tend to fan the flames by broadcasting regular stories about high-profile crimes. What local people refer to as 'citizen insecurity' is in reality a class-based conflict, in which people who live on the margins of society are sick-and-tired of not taking part in the strengthened and constantly-growing Peruvian economy. As a result, taxi drivers should immediately cause you to raise your guard and they should generally not be trusted. Going out alone at night in certain parts of the city could be an invitation for a robbery. One should be especially careful when stopped at a traffic light when driving, as bands of thieves are skillful at quick smash-and-grab robberies that catch unsuspecting motorists off guard. The ability to detect counterfeit cash is particularly useful for those who live here, as Peru is one of the countries that produce the highest amount of bogus cash. If you stay within the confines of your general neighborhood and exhibit sensible and practical common sense, your likelihood of falling prey to these con-artists is significantly, although not entirely, reduced. - Jan 2012

This is considered a high crime post. Most of the crime is directed on the locals, not the Mission. But, there have been cases of drugged and robbed, pick-pockets, one person was drugged and robbed in a taxi, another was drugged by a person they meet on-line and then robbed. There are smash and grabs around the airport and in a few of the areas in town where traffic is stalled. Kept your valuables, purse, computer bag ouf to sight, lock your doors, windows up – all the basic safety things. There have been two armed robberies just outside the entrance to our apartment. One night, there was a car-jacking at the entrance to our apartment. A lady was picking up her child and two armed men pulled her out of the car, fired a few shots and left with the car. The armed men had been following the car with the intent of stealing it and did so when the opportunity was there. That happened to be when she stopped at the apt. There was one armed robbery, where the bandits got the wallets and cash from some people pulling into the front of the apartment. We have the neighborhood ‘crack head’ that comes into park a few times during the week to smoke it. The local security is trying to run him off, but have not been successful. All of the Mission supplied housing is in the better sections of town, have walls, alarm systems, doormen in the apartments. Also, there are ‘watchee men’ everywhere. They are paid by the residents and are a 24/7 extra set of eyes in the neighborhood. There is a big display of police and security people everywhere. - Jan 2012

Petty crime, like purse snatching is pervasive. Break-ins and car theft have been problems, but violent crime is relatively rare. - Aug 2011

Every apartment building has doormen and guards. Many the neighborhood have private guards, and the city security and police are patrolling all the time. Houses all have walls around them with electric wires. There is not a lot of violent crime in Lima, but theft, bag-snatching and pickpocketing is rampant. Express kidnapping is also something one hears about every now and again. But all in all it is a safe city for the most part, especially in the parts of the city where most tourists go and the rich live. - Jul 2010

Crime is typical of a large city...smash and grab, car parts are taken regularly, taxi scams giving bogus money for change. - Jun 2010

Lots of petty crime, muggings and kidnappings are not uncommon, driving in certain sectors is dangerous. - Jul 2008

There is a lot of petty crime in Lima, but very little violent crime. We have not personally been the victims of any crime though we know of incidents of muggings and burglary. As with any major capital, it is a good idea to take normal safety precautions (travel in a group at night, use house and car alarms, leave flashy clothing and jewelry at home, keep wallets and purses secure, etc.). - Apr 2008

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