Safety in Peru

Answers to your qestions about moving to, and living in, Peru,
Mystery
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Safety in Peru

Postby Mystery » Fri Jan 28, 2011 6:58 pm

Hi, I've been in Lima for a week now. I know some people living in Miraflores, met some girls and hear from people working in hostels. The phrase I hear the most is "CUIDATE MUCHO" (be very careful). Apparently I have to be careful about everything. AND, I'm in the safest area of Lima (Miraflores).

So far I have lived in Finland, Sweden, Spain, France and Thailand for a while. Although everybody gets stolen something once in a while in Barcelona, and there are lots of scams in Thailand, people don't fear it so much. In a year in Thailand, I have never seen anyone being robbed anything.

So my question is... is Lima mroe dangerous than all these other places or are people just more afraid?
And how how is safety in other cities of Peru, outside Lima?

This then leads to other questions such as
- in which city should i live if I want to be in Peru for a year
- should I prevent myself from going out, meeting girls, doing parties or that kind of stuff because of safety?


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Re: Safety in Peru

Postby stuart » Fri Jan 28, 2011 7:09 pm

I was murdered twice this morning just buying milk. No but seriously, the Peruvian population has dropped by several million in the past year alone, it's like a zombie movie, people are eating each others brains and everything.

Ok, serious for real this time: the middle classes of Lima are a paranoid bunch. They expect to be robbed and killed when turning every corner. If someone they know goes out alone after dark, they don't expect them to be seen again and say their goodbyes. Worst of all... should a cool breeze blow on your face, you will be expected to catch pneumonia and die immediately.

Oddly, the poor, who see 90% of all crime in Lima, aren't worried by much at all. Remember, Lima has one of the lowest rates of violent crime in Latin America. A few here have experienced unfortunate incidents, which you'll find by doing a search, but overwhelmingly people think Lima is slightly safer than large metropolises "back home".
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Re: Safety in Peru

Postby rama0929 » Fri Jan 28, 2011 7:25 pm

"Cuidate Mucho" is quite informal, the equivalent of "Take Care." I wouldn't read too much into the usage of the phrase.
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Re: Safety in Peru

Postby Remigius » Fri Jan 28, 2011 7:31 pm

Mystery wrote:This then leads to other questions such as
- in which city should i live if I want to be in Peru for a year
- should I prevent myself from going out, meeting girls, doing parties or that kind of stuff because of safety?


Poor soul :) I know how you feel. When I came for the first time to Peru, I was told incredible horror stories and for a whole week I did not dare to leave the house. 11 years later, I have not been robbed one single time and have never been in a situation that made me feel uncomfortable. Call it luck, but this ain't Beirut. Lima is just like any big capital in the world: you should not do crazy things (use your head -- i.e.: taking money out of an ATM at night is never a good idea), avoid hotspots, act confident and go to places people recommend you going to. Slowly but surely you'll get to know the dos and don'ts.
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Re: Safety in Peru

Postby Remigius » Fri Jan 28, 2011 7:32 pm

rama0929 wrote:"Cuidate Mucho" is quite informal, the equivalent of "Take Care." I wouldn't read too much into the usage of the phrase.


Usually they'll tell you "cuidate". When "mucho" is added, it's more serious, and also the intonation tells a lot.
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Re: Safety in Peru

Postby rama0929 » Fri Jan 28, 2011 7:34 pm

Mystery wrote:This then leads to other questions such as
- in which city should i live if I want to be in Peru for a year
- should I prevent myself from going out, meeting girls, doing parties or that kind of stuff because of safety?


You will go crazy if you don't go out and meet girls. Too many things to do to stay cooped up in the apartment.

All the cities are the same, IMO, some are more bigger than others. If you want to meet girls, it seems Iquitos is the place to be :lol:

Or you could head up to Tarapoto and hang out with euroman... He seems to enjoy paradise up there.
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Re: Safety in Peru

Postby rama0929 » Fri Jan 28, 2011 7:36 pm

Remigius wrote:
rama0929 wrote:"Cuidate Mucho" is quite informal, the equivalent of "Take Care." I wouldn't read too much into the usage of the phrase.


Usually they'll tell you "cuidate". When "mucho" is added, it's more serious, and also the intonation tells a lot.


I've gotten both, but I agree that the intonation means a lot.

"Cuidate, chau, ya, cuidate" is what I usually get :lol:
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Re: Safety in Peru

Postby Mystery » Fri Jan 28, 2011 7:47 pm

Just right now talking with a girl about drinking beer tonight (after having the stomack sick in the last days, now it's better)

"yaaa lo vas a empeorarr
quieress estar ebriooo
y despues no vayas aparecer desnudo en la playa, sin dinero y sin nada"

Traduction:
aaaaa it will make your stomack go worse!
you want to be sober
so that we won't find you naked on the beach, without money or anything

Lots of people keep saying that kind of stuff.
stuart wrote:Ok, serious for real this time: the middle classes of Lima are a paranoid bunch.

That's more what I think, but I've been more quiet so far to figure out what's really going on. For example, I haven't gone out shopping in the city center at 7pm because people told me it's way too dangerous in the evening... they'll put something in my drink and I'll end up naked in the streets. I'm also told I should wear my hat not to stand out, which isn't a big deal and makes sense.

I've also just realized that it was civil war with terrorism just 20 years ago. People telling me about all this have gone through that. They may be talking about how it was 10, 20 or 30 years ago. From what I hear it seems to have changed a LOT in the last 5 years alone.
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Re: Safety in Peru

Postby stuart » Fri Jan 28, 2011 7:49 pm

rama0929 wrote:
Remigius wrote:
rama0929 wrote:"Cuidate Mucho" is quite informal, the equivalent of "Take Care." I wouldn't read too much into the usage of the phrase.


Usually they'll tell you "cuidate". When "mucho" is added, it's more serious, and also the intonation tells a lot.


I've gotten both, but I agree that the intonation means a lot.

"Cuidate, chau, ya, cuidate" is what I usually get :lol:


I usually get ¿sigues acá? :|
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Re: Safety in Peru

Postby tomsax » Fri Jan 28, 2011 7:51 pm

I think it's a Peruvian cultural thing that they feel they should warn all visitors/tourists of the possible dangers. In many countries this would be considered almost unpatriotic but not in Peru. Many Peruvians like to suggest this great big "other" that you should avoid and they want to say has nothing to do with them. It's a sympton of the lack of mutual trust that exists in Peruvain society.

This makes them more likely to warn of the dangers which do really exist.
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Re: Safety in Peru

Postby Mystery » Fri Jan 28, 2011 7:55 pm

About being extra careful about girls, I think part of it is that it is a very catholic society and they are very conservative about sexuality. Instead of telling me not to have sex before weddings (or when the nightclubs close), they'll tell me to be extra careful for my safety.

I can't say for sure, though.
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Re: Safety in Peru

Postby rama0929 » Fri Jan 28, 2011 11:02 pm

stuart wrote:I usually get ¿sigues acá? :|

:lol:
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Re: Safety in Peru

Postby rama0929 » Fri Jan 28, 2011 11:06 pm

Mystery wrote:That's more what I think, but I've been more quiet so far to figure out what's really going on. For example, I haven't gone out shopping in the city center at 7pm because people told me it's way too dangerous in the evening... they'll put something in my drink and I'll end up naked in the streets. I'm also told I should wear my hat not to stand out, which isn't a big deal and makes sense.


You'll be fine. Your drink won't be spiked unless you're trying to pick up a woman of the night. The same applies pretty much anywhere in the world.

Lima isn't as bad or as scary as they would like to think. There are some bad areas, but for the most part if you exercise a little common sense, you'll be okay. The only incident I had was because I was trying to hook up with someone against my wingman's advice.
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Re: Safety in Peru

Postby rama0929 » Fri Jan 28, 2011 11:07 pm

Mystery wrote:About being extra careful about girls, I think part of it is that it is a very catholic society and they are very conservative about sexuality.


Yeah, that's what they want you to think... :lol:

If your game is 1/2 way decent, it'll be like shooting fish in a barrel.
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Re: Safety in Peru

Postby Kelly » Fri Jan 28, 2011 11:08 pm

About being extra careful about girls, I think part of it is that it is a very catholic society and they are very conservative about sexuality. Instead of telling me not to have sex before weddings (or when the nightclubs close), they'll tell me to be extra careful for my safety.


Anyone warning you about being careful with women is probably more concerned with you getting picked up by a brichera than with maintaining some sort of Catholic purity.
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Re: Safety in Peru

Postby oneMore » Sat Jan 29, 2011 1:40 am

I went through the same thing. It was like mass paranoia. It got to me after a while, everyone being scared. Always thinking that the worse is going to happen. I could never comment about it because I did not live there long enough to prove them right or wrong.
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Re: Safety in Peru

Postby Mystery » Sat Jan 29, 2011 2:33 am

Some women are very direct in Peru.

Spoke with some more people today. Went for a pub crawl, there was a guy from Australia taking care of it. There was only 4 people for the crawl so they cancelled it but I asked the guy questions. He told me about the same dangers everybody is telling me about. Once he took a cab which brought him to a dark alley where a few guys showed up. He just gave them all his luggages without violence.

Went to eat. The waitress brought me my plate... then came back to ask "quieres un extra plato?" (to put some of the food) ... then came back when she was almost leaving "sabes que estas guapo?"

Then a girl I met on the internet called me because she was getting bored... I was going out alone so she took a taxi to come join me and we spoke about a lot of things. She told me again about all the dangers everybody is telling me about. Everybody says it's much more dangerous than Barcelona.

I'm not sure how to handle this when EVERYBODY (except some expats here) are telling me the same thing.
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Re: Safety in Peru

Postby goingnowherefast » Sat Jan 29, 2011 7:42 am

Lima can be a very rough city, even in Miraflores, San isidro, etc. I don't believe these 'best city in Latin America' crap stats that people give this place. Crimes here are unreported, and I'd bet with the exception of MAYBE some homocides, Lima compares with Colombia, Brazil, and Venezuela for general crime stats.

I have gotten into more than my fare share of confrontations with taxi drivers especially but also cambistas and security guards. One two occasions I had taxi drivers try to change their price AFTER I pay and keep change. Both times I grabbed the money from their hands, walked to the driver's side, and given them exact change. I also had a cab driver who was extremely rude, and extremely sorry, to my girlfriend. Women need to be especially careful at night. I walk my girlfriend everywhere at night. There are a group of 'rouge cambistas' a few blocks from Javier Prado who have tried to get me with bogus calculators (luckily I know the exchange rates for USD/EUR/GBP for different notes and exchage rates by heart) and I've had to really get in their faces, one tried to act like I handed him 80 EUR instead of 100. I've been in these situations with police onlooking. Never once have they taken any money from me *knocks on wood* but you have to really let them know you aren't going to back down and let them know you'll go down with the ship for 3 soles, which can be exhausting.

I've never been robbed or had anything taken by force, but I never put myself in a position to. I move around this city A LOT, I'll take 4-6 cab rides everyday, greatly increasing my probability of general bad poop happening, so security is a very high priority for me, and I will say it can be exhausting to be on my toes 24/7, but it is what it is. People here are definitely paranoid and for good reason.

The thing about Lima, is that there are really no police. The only police here with any real authority are the aguila negra. They have their hands full getting into turf wars with gangs in bad areas, they don't even firmly control the streets here. Other than that, the responsibility of la policia nacional is to direct traffic, and you never see army in the streets which is a shame. In most other latin american countries la policia nacional hold MUCH MUCH more authority than they do here and are in MUCH MUCH bigger numbers. The cops you see guarding banks are only security guards they have no authority to make arrests. Other than that we see a large presence of civilian security patrolling with loud colors... makes me feel really safe...
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Re: Safety in Peru

Postby roddd » Sat Jan 29, 2011 12:32 pm

do as you would do in any big city and you will be ok, i am sure you would not walk around with lots of money or take strange taxis in your city where you live would you, i never leave my drink unattended i always take it with me even to the bathroom,thats why i drink bottle beer now and not pints :) always be aware of your surroundings at all times, in the uk if i go to a pub i always tend to have my back to a wall so i cant get hit or grabbed from behind i am not paranoid im just thinking a head i have been coming to Peru for over 10 years and never had any trouble i also have lived in some rough parts of London and believe it or not i felt more safer in Manhattan than anywhere else :)
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Re: Safety in Peru

Postby KenBE » Sat Jan 29, 2011 12:35 pm

Mystery wrote:Hi, I've been in Lima for a week now. I know some people living in Miraflores, met some girls and hear from people working in hostels. The phrase I hear the most is "CUIDATE MUCHO" (be very careful). Apparently I have to be careful about everything. AND, I'm in the safest area of Lima (Miraflores).

So far I have lived in Finland, Sweden, Spain, France and Thailand for a while. Although everybody gets stolen something once in a while in Barcelona, and there are lots of scams in Thailand, people don't fear it so much. In a year in Thailand, I have never seen anyone being robbed anything.

So my question is... is Lima mroe dangerous than all these other places or are people just more afraid?
And how how is safety in other cities of Peru, outside Lima?

This then leads to other questions such as
- in which city should i live if I want to be in Peru for a year
- should I prevent myself from going out, meeting girls, doing parties or that kind of stuff because of safety?


Alright, I am not trying to scare you, but when they tell you "cuidate mucho" it is for a reason... People are paranoid because they have to be.

Personally I do not know much about Lima. Miraflores SEEMS like a pretty safe area. However, I have been living in Trujillo for over 2 years now and let me tell you crime is reaching unbelievable levels here. Here is what happened during the past week alone: someone we know got killed, the bakery in our neighborhood got robbed by a guy with a gun, a lady we know got mugged by a group of teenagers with a knife telling her "don't scream or we cut you". Peru IS a dangerous place not matter what anyone here may say.

Does this mean you can't go out and party etc.? Of course not, but I think it if best to always go with a local guide and be very careful when taking taxis. Nothing has happened to me personally in my 5 years in Peru, but I hardly ever go out alone and am alwasy very careful.
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Re: Safety in Peru

Postby Mystery » Sat Jan 29, 2011 3:39 pm

To better understand the ratio of fears vs risks, we could look at warning about other kinds of risks that are more easily measures.

People keep telling me to be careful when going out at night about prostitutes. Prostitution here maybe could be compared to what it is in Barcelona, but it is only a fraction of what it is in Thailand.

As for having sex with Peruvian women, people tell to be very careful about HIV/AIDS. 0.5% have it here, 0.6% in USA and 1.6% in Thailand. The risks are lower than in most other places where I've lived before.

Also people tell me to be very careful about putting suncream. Is the run really that stronger than in Barcelona or Thailand? People don't worry about it as much over there. Unless the ozone is thinner in equator or something?

From what I understand so far, there ARE risks but also a lot of paranoia. As far as Trujillo, people here told me about it, there are gangs since two years causing troubles. I thought they were only after business-men but it seems they cause other problems too.

These few tips should avoid 90% of troubles.
- avoid certain areas or certain cities where there are troubles (suburbs of Lima, Trujillo)
- recognize and avoid prostitutes (duh)
- only to take taxis with the taxi sign fixed on the car (duh) or even better, look at their car/driver license to ensure it matches
- NOT take taxi when carrying luggages unless the hotel calls the taxi
- not walk in the city center of Lima too late at night (up to what time is good?)
- always keep an eye out for pick-pockets and on your drinks

Most of these are "duh" types of advices. If we take these into account, how much real risks are left compare to other cities where people aren't worries so much about all those things?
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Re: Safety in Peru

Postby Mystery » Sun Jan 30, 2011 10:40 am

If I take some of the things everybody is telling me to be careful about:
- postitutes. There is nothing here compared to Thailand. People aren't scared of them in Barcelona and Thailand.
- HIV/AIDS. The rate is similar to Canada/USA and much lower than Thailand. People in Thailand aren't scared of that.
- sun. I have to be very careful to put suncream all the time because it's close to equator. The distance between Lima and equator is the same as Bangkok and equator. Of course you put suncream when you go out too much but nothing to be paranoiac about.

I think there is some real dangers but it's part of the culture to be paranoiac about every possible trouble.

I think most of it can be avoided with these "duh" advices
- avoid certain areas or certain cities where there are troubles (suburbs of Lima, Trujillo)
- recognize and avoid prostitutes
- only to take taxis with the taxi sign fixed on the car or even better, look at their car/driver license to ensure it matches
- NOT take taxi when carrying luggages unless the hotel calls the taxi
- not walk in the city center of Lima too late at night
- use condoms if having sex with anyone
- always keep an eye out for pick-pockets and on your drinks
- not do anything to stand out too much as a tourist

By putting those aside, probably 95% of the problems are already avoided, and these are what you would do in any other big city anyway.
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Re: Safety in Peru

Postby teamoperu » Sun Jan 30, 2011 10:59 am

Peruvians are not paranoid, paranoid implies an irrational fear. The likelihood of being robbed in Peru is high. Petty theft is rampant... but depends on the demographics. I was interested in this so I started asking residents directly, maybe 100 people so far. Almost every Peruvian I have met has been victim of robbery, or robbery attempt, the rate for women is almost 100%, men lower. I think the rate for foreigners is actually lower than the general population. Ha, the half life of a cell phone in the hands of a young Peruvian women is about 3 months! Statistics are statistics, but when you are personally a victim, or attempted victim, when you witness robberies (I have at least 4 times), well, then the rate must be very high IMHO. (Note, I am referring to petty theft, not violent crime).
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Re: Safety in Peru

Postby Mystery » Sun Jan 30, 2011 11:13 am

Yeah I lived in Barcelona for a year. Everybody I know has been stolen something at least once. I was stolen a cellphone once and there was several other attempts of all kind.

Then I went back for a month last year with a friend. Both of us got stolen our wallets in different places and he almost lost his camera.

Maybe it's worse here, but it can't be THAT much worse. I'm really starting to think it's just that people talk more about it.
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Re: Safety in Peru

Postby goingnowherefast » Sun Jan 30, 2011 12:14 pm

Barcelona is heaven compared to Lima.

The main difference between Barcelona (or western cities with pickpockets that people keep making comparisons to) and Peru, is the types of petty thieves. In Barcelona, 9/10 times those petty thieves aren't going to stab you over a cell phone or wallet, here if a thief feels boxed in he will not hesitate to take you down.

In Colombia, when you see a policeman (la policia nacional) guarding an area, he'll probably be about 20-25 years old, former soldier with 1 - 5 years experience of domestic security. In Peru, la policia nacional is a 30 year old woman waving a traffic baton. Then you have my favorite guys, the branch of la policia nacional that protects the banks and on rare occasions a street corner. These guys are about 40-50, and make next to nothing, literally. (Also they can't make arrests...) Then, finally, we have aguila negra, the actual body of police responsible for policing, who have authority. Ever seen them before? Most haven't, these are the bat out of hell looking guys on those nice 250cc bikes. They don't really patrol, they don't really have any clear cut objectives. If you watch the news, you'll see they spend most of their time in bad areas stopping local gangs from controlling neighborhoods.

So where does that leave us, the expat community, who live in the good areas of Peru? Even though it is a 'good area' we still need security, this is Peru. So who secures us? Civilians. That's right, armed to the teeth with batons, we have an army of civilian guards responsible for patrolling Miraflores, San Isidro, etc. Noble as they may be, these are still unarmed civilians responsible for doing what the army does in most countries in Latin America.

The security situation in Peru is a complete joke.
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Re: Safety in Peru

Postby KenBE » Sun Jan 30, 2011 2:57 pm

teamoperu wrote:Peruvians are not paranoid, paranoid implies an irrational fear. The likelihood of being robbed in Peru is high. Petty theft is rampant... but depends on the demographics. I was interested in this so I started asking residents directly, maybe 100 people so far. Almost every Peruvian I have met has been victim of robbery, or robbery attempt, the rate for women is almost 100%, men lower. I think the rate for foreigners is actually lower than the general population. Ha, the half life of a cell phone in the hands of a young Peruvian women is about 3 months! Statistics are statistics, but when you are personally a victim, or attempted victim, when you witness robberies (I have at least 4 times), well, then the rate must be very high IMHO. (Note, I am referring to petty theft, not violent crime).


I agree 100%. This is exactly what I have seen here as well. People who think Peruvian cities are just like any other big city in the first world don't know what they are talking about. You are right women are far more often the victim than men, because they are easier targets and are unlikely to fight back. It really disgusts me. Most of it is petty theft, but often these thieves are armed and they do not hesitate to shoot/stab you if they feel threatened or you won't give them your money.
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Re: Safety in Peru

Postby rama0929 » Sun Jan 30, 2011 5:49 pm

KenBE wrote:I agree 100%. This is exactly what I have seen here as well. People who think Peruvian cities are just like any other big city in the first world don't know what they are talking about.


I'm using pre Giuliani NYC (and in particular the South Bronx) and Rochester, NY as a frame of reference. No matter where you are, it makes sense to use a bit of discretion, and common sense.
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Re: Safety in Peru

Postby Kelly » Sun Jan 30, 2011 5:57 pm

I lived in Wash DC, Marion Barry era (1983-ish). I feel much safer in Lima than I did there. I often walk at night here - I used to walk several blocks from my Metro stop there, too. But there were sections of town there i would have never walked at night - just like there are sections here that I wouldn't do such a thing. I may be more likely to get robbed here in Lima than in DC, but I bet my odds of getting killed in the robbery are much higher there.


I will say I felt safer in 1980's Seoul, Korea than I do here - I probably had more to fear from other GIs than from Koreans. And I hung out in some pretty sketchy neighborhoods there, too.
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Re: Safety in Peru

Postby euroman » Sun Jan 30, 2011 8:31 pm

I guess the easiest way to walk around safely without fear is walking with a dog.
I never heard anyone with a dog being robbed.
Well, I guess it`s recommened not a yorkshire terrier or pikenese (although I'v been bitten by one) but something that looks dangerous.

My dogs favourite meal: RATERO CRUDO CON SALSA PICANTE
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Re: Safety in Peru

Postby TechDude » Mon Jan 31, 2011 12:13 am

Certain areas in Lima are best to avoid, and I agree with some of the posters, USE COMMON SENSE!.

This thread reminds me of an old joke:

An american a frenchman and a peruvian are on a plane, but they don't know where they are, so, the american sticks his arm out the window and says: I think we are in the US, the other 2 guys ask why? and the american says: because I think I just touched the statue of liberty, then the frenchman sticks his arm out of the window and says: No, we are in France, because I think I just touched the Eifel tower, then the peruvian does the same thing and says: You are all wrong, we are definitely in Lima!!, the other 2 guys ask why are you so sure? and the peruvian replies: Because someone just stole my wrist watch :mrgreen:
Last edited by TechDude on Mon Jan 31, 2011 1:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Safety in Peru

Postby Remigius » Mon Jan 31, 2011 8:31 am

euroman wrote:I guess the easiest way to walk around safely without fear is walking with a dog.
I never heard anyone with a dog being robbed.


Reminds me a bit of a scene out of The Mummy 2 where a thug is convinced by Jonathan that standing on sacred ground will protect them from the Pygmy mummies, only to be stabbed 20 times. Let's go back to your logic though:

1. Taking into consideration this is city with 8 million people, statistically few have a dog.
2. Few people take the dogs out themselves (Maids)
3. Few of them take them out a night (1,2 and 3 explain why you haven't heard people with dogs being robbed).
4. If you want to scare people, you'd ought to take out Lay Fun.
5. Statistically speaking, few people walk Dobermans, Rotweilers or Pitbulls.
6. Most important rule: if a robber is after you, he will find ways to get rid of the dog.

In a nutshell: walking your dog is not the easiest way to walk around safely without fear. If you'd follow this logic, you'd be more vulnerable, because you'll be walking around with a feeling of superiority, forgetting about common sense.
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Re: Safety in Peru

Postby KenBE » Mon Jan 31, 2011 2:00 pm

euroman wrote:My dogs favourite meal: RATERO CRUDO CON SALSA PICANTE

LOL!
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Re: Safety in Peru

Postby bmike1 » Thu Feb 03, 2011 8:18 pm

Kelly wrote:
Anyone warning you about being careful with women is probably more concerned with you getting picked up by a brichera.


my translator doesn't know 'brichera'. So I'll google it! .....

Ohhhhh..... a gringo hunter!

I should have figured that one out.... it sounds so much like 'b***h'
Last edited by bmike1 on Thu Feb 03, 2011 9:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Safety in Peru

Postby cuymagico » Thu Feb 03, 2011 9:24 pm

I have been here two years and nothing has happened to me, violent or otherwise, except for once lending/losing 400 soles to a neighbor I didn't realize was a scammer (he tried to get a lot more out of me). Hope I don't jinx my safety streak...

That said, once a friend I was eating lunch with got his bag robbed right out from under the table without either of us realizing it. Another time, I met a guy who'd just been robbed of his laptop in a taxi (the taxi driver hit him over the head to get it). Various coworkers have had their houses broken into and robbed. Another coworker was express-kidnapped in a taxi (at night, always check that no one is in the trunk of a station wagon taxi). Another's cat got poisoned. etc. etc.

Crime happens here. Compared with a lot of other Latin American capitals, it's not that bad, especially in Miraflores. But, really, ten mucho cuidado!!
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Re: Safety in Peru

Postby cuymagico » Thu Feb 03, 2011 9:37 pm

Mods, could we have a stickied thread that compiles the common safety tips in Lima?

There are major risks I didn't know about before I came here, like the attackers who hide in the trunks of station wagons. And just how sly the thieves are. Meanwhile, there are things that would be a huge risk in some other cities, like taking an unregistered taxi, that aren't a big risk here.
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Re: Safety in Peru

Postby uwwgal » Thu Feb 03, 2011 9:45 pm

cuidate / cuidate mucho = take care

ten cuidado = be careful

As a previous poster mentioned, terrorism was controlling this city until about 20 years ago... so the late 20s and 30 somethings and older adults have that very much still in their minds. It was really a horrible time for everyone here.

There is crime that happens here... there is crime that happens everywhere. I have also lived in Spain, and I would say that you are more likely to be a victim of crime there than here. I don't personally know anyone who has had a problem here. In Spain, I saw people getting pickpocketed (Madrid, Sevilla, Barcelona).. one of my friends was almost pickpocketed on the metro in Madrid. Luckily, we managed to warn her before the person got away with it. If you are as well traveled as you say, you should know the basic rules for being in a foreign country, and you'll be fine.
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Re: Safety in Peru

Postby Mystery » Fri Feb 04, 2011 7:03 pm

Now I'm in Cuzco and apparently it's much safer than Lima. I've been walking around and it feels very safe.

Also looking at local people... they aren't as careful as I am so it can't be that bad. People exchanging money in the street walk around with piles of money... wouldn't they be the best people to steal? Some people at the bank put their pile of money all around the table to count it. I'm more discrete about my money. The girl I was dating put her bag at the end of the bench we were sitting on... I always keep my eyes on my belongings.

Peruvian people are very afraid of all the possible risks, but they often aren't the most careful people either.
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Re: Safety in Peru

Postby rama0929 » Fri Feb 04, 2011 11:28 pm

Mystery wrote:Now I'm in Cuzco and apparently it's much safer than Lima. I've been walking around and it feels very safe.


Yes, there's a different vibe in Cuzco than there is in Lima.
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Re: Safety in Peru

Postby KenBE » Sat Feb 05, 2011 3:45 pm

Mystery wrote:Now I'm in Cuzco and apparently it's much safer than Lima. I've been walking around and it feels very safe.

Also looking at local people... they aren't as careful as I am so it can't be that bad. People exchanging money in the street walk around with piles of money... wouldn't they be the best people to steal? Some people at the bank put their pile of money all around the table to count it. I'm more discrete about my money. The girl I was dating put her bag at the end of the bench we were sitting on... I always keep my eyes on my belongings.

Peruvian people are very afraid of all the possible risks, but they often aren't the most careful people either.

The best way to truly find out how safe a place is is by asking the people who live there, not on some internet message board. If they tell you it is not safe it is not because they are paranoid, it is because they themselves or many of their friends/relatives have probably been mugged. I find it incredible how many people here do not want to admit that there is a lot of crime in Peru when it is so obvious. This does not mean Peru isn't a great country, it is just the reality here.
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Re: Safety in Peru

Postby americorps » Sat Feb 05, 2011 7:38 pm

In most countries, I would say KenBe would be right about soliciting advice, but I have to disagree with him about Peru.

Many Peruvians remember a time under shining path and when the streets were even more chaotic than they are now and will not recognize that things have changed.

Gamarra is a good example. About a year ago they significantly cleaned it up, added lots of security and drove out many of the street bandits and I consider it quite safe and comfortable though as anywhere, I am constantly on guard for pickpockets.

I am writing this keeping in mind that recently there was a bank robbary in gamarra that became a hostage situation, but that could happen at any bank in the world.

Yet today, if I tell a well heeled Peruvian that I am going to Gamarra, they will be shocked. They will ask me stupid questions like..do you have a will and make sure to let your friends know you are going there in case you do not come back.

There was a time when that advice was more relevant, but Peru is advancing and cleaning up little by little, albiet at a snails pace, but the memory here is long and change in attitude slow.
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Re: Safety in Peru

Postby euroman » Sun Feb 06, 2011 7:57 pm

To be safe in Lima...
wear cheap preferable old clothes, old cheap shoes don´t wear a watch, only take loose change with you.

Dress and act like you are extremely poor and nobody will rob you.
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Re: Safety in Peru

Postby bmike1 » Sun Feb 06, 2011 9:53 pm

cuymagico wrote:, like taking an unregistered taxi, that aren't a big risk here.

how do you tell if your taxi is registered or not?
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Re: Safety in Peru

Postby bmike1 » Sun Feb 06, 2011 10:01 pm

euroman wrote:Dress and act like you are extremely poor and nobody will rob you.

That's easy advise. I won't have to try very hard.... I won't have to try at all! I'm there already.

When I was on a tour bus to the Cross on the mountain some dude tried to snatch some ladies purse from the outside.
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Re: Safety in Peru

Postby bmike1 » Sun Feb 06, 2011 10:04 pm

I'll be living in LaMolina (nea Park Inmacula). Is that a good area or do I have to watch myself more carefully?

One other thing; a previous poster said that you just need to follow the rules of visiting any foreign country. What are those rules?
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Re: Safety in Peru

Postby bmike1 » Sun Feb 06, 2011 10:22 pm

Mystery wrote:- not do anything to stand out too much as a tourist

That's a laugh. We all sound like tourists.

oops.... just re-read your post.... 'don't stand out too much like tourists.
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Re: Safety in Peru

Postby koplinfamilia » Sun Feb 06, 2011 11:29 pm

rama0929 wrote:
KenBE wrote:I agree 100%. This is exactly what I have seen here as well. People who think Peruvian cities are just like any other big city in the first world don't know what they are talking about.


I'm using pre Giuliani NYC (and in particular the South Bronx) and Rochester, NY as a frame of reference. No matter where you are, it makes sense to use a bit of discretion, and common sense.


I happen to be from Rochester NY, I lived in the city and have seen my fair share of crime (including a murder across the street one night) but let me tell you... I never really worried when walking the streets there. Like here in Lima, I took necessary precautions such as not wearing jewlery or concealing a cell phone ect. Overall it is not the same, like so many others have stated, at least in the USA you have the police behind you. They come immediately when you call and they actually try to help you, this is not the case here in Lima. Also, the petty theft here in Lima is over the top. Thank God my family has not experienced any of this in the year we have been here but we sure know many who have... I can not say the same about Rochester, NY... don't know anyone who has ever been affected by crime at all and I've lived there most of my life.
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Re: Safety in Peru

Postby americorps » Sun Feb 06, 2011 11:33 pm

I take precautions, but my reaction is quite opposite koplin,

I feel safer most of the time here in Lima than I EVER did when I lived in Washington, DC.
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Re: Safety in Peru

Postby adrian Thorne » Mon Feb 07, 2011 7:38 am

[quote="bmike1"]I'll be living in LaMolina (nea Park Inmacula). Is that a good area or do I have to watch myself more carefully?

Mike it is not a bad area. Good shopping near in Ave La Molina with several markets and supermarkets. It is on the edge of Industrial which can cause a few problems when there is a soccer match at the stadium. You can go out at night but will need to stay towards the Prado side. We live 10 minutes away by car so any help when you arrive 4/4 pm me.
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Re: Safety in Peru

Postby uwwgal » Mon Feb 07, 2011 2:07 pm

mike, i used to live over there. i lived right off of flora tristan, and it is fine...i never had any problems. i later moved to san borja, and now im in miraflores just to be closer to my friends and within walking distance to everything besides my job.

the only "problems" with living there is that if you dont work there, your commute will probably suck, lol... and also whenever there is a game or concert at monumental, the traffic is even worse than normal. and if it is a soccer game, there can be issues with the hooligans, but i never experienced any problems. they basically lock that part of town up when there are games (close the gates to the streets, put the rejas out at stores, etc.).
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Re: Safety in Peru

Postby KenBE » Mon Feb 07, 2011 2:46 pm

americorps wrote:In most countries, I would say KenBe would be right about soliciting advice, but I have to disagree with him about Peru.

Many Peruvians remember a time under shining path and when the streets were even more chaotic than they are now and will not recognize that things have changed.

Gamarra is a good example. About a year ago they significantly cleaned it up, added lots of security and drove out many of the street bandits and I consider it quite safe and comfortable though as anywhere, I am constantly on guard for pickpockets.

I am writing this keeping in mind that recently there was a bank robbary in gamarra that became a hostage situation, but that could happen at any bank in the world.

Yet today, if I tell a well heeled Peruvian that I am going to Gamarra, they will be shocked. They will ask me stupid questions like..do you have a will and make sure to let your friends know you are going there in case you do not come back.

There was a time when that advice was more relevant, but Peru is advancing and cleaning up little by little, albiet at a snails pace, but the memory here is long and change in attitude slow.


Disagree 100%, Sorry. While Peru is certainly growing economically I don't see the crime situation improving at all. When Peruvians say it is not safe they are not referring to the terrucos (Shining Path), they are talking about choros (thieves/muggers). Again, you should ask for personal experiences, not rumors if you want to know how safe an areas really is. I think many foreigners also get a different impression of Peru because they hardly ever leave Miraflores or other wealthy areas where things may be a bit better. But the other 99% of Peru is a very different story.

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