HomeNewsBriefPeru's New Homicide Index Shows Spiking Violence in Drug Port
BRIEF

Peru's New Homicide Index Shows Spiking Violence in Drug Port

HOMICIDES / 22 JUL 2016 BY MIMI YAGOUB EN

New homicide statistics from Peru reveal a nationwide rise in murders over the past five years, and an even steeper surge in the disputed criminal territory of Callao port.

El Comercio has published homicide data elaborated by the newly inaugurated National Criminal Policy Observatory (Observatorio Nacional de Política Criminal) -- a joint project by Peru's Justice Ministry and the National Statistics and Information Institute (INEI).

The 2011 - 2015 homicide statistics -- described by the news website as the first ever official figures on violent deaths in the country -- show that the national murder rate has risen year upon year, and is up from 5.4 per 100,000 in 2011 to 7.2 in 2015.

The murder rate in Callao -- although it was unclear whether this referred to the province or the port city of the same name -- was consistently around double the national average, and increased from 10.2 per 100,000 in 2011 to 15.2 in 2015. On the other hand, the capital city of Lima's murder rate has been fairly stable, while remaining significantly lower than the national average at 5.0 in 2015. No other figures were released.

For decades, the police have been collecting data in a largely unreliable and unofficial fashion, criminology investigator with Peru's Catholic University (Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú - PUCP) Nicolás Zevallos told El Comercio. Zevallos noted that such disorganized data collection has hindered implementation of effective security policies.

According to separate statistics by the INEI reported in February 2016 by La República, Tumbes is the most murderous city in the country with a rate of 37.1 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants.

SEE ALSO:  Coverage of Homicides

Tumbes' regional police chief General William Montenegro attributed the majority of killings to conflict between gangs involved in petrol contraband, criminal groups charging extortion on construction sites and assault. There are at least five groups extorting money from Tumbes' construction industry due to the large amount of investment in the area, according to the national police.

InSight Crime Analysis

The worrying homicide statistics seen in Callao are closely linked to organized criminal dynamics in the region. Callao is Peru's most important port, and it has also become a transnational drug trafficking and contraband hub. Its spiking murder rate is largely attributed to clashes between local criminal groups for control of the drug trade and extortion, and criminal violence has reached such levels that Peruvian President Ollanta Humala declared a state of emergency in the region in December 2015.

SEE ALSO:  Peru News and Profiles

Despite the April 2016 arrest of one of Callao's main criminal bosses, Gerson Aldair Gálvez Calle, alias "Caracol," drug trafficking in the port city looks set to continue unabated. Caracol's heirs appear to have taken control of criminal activities, which are facilitated by deep corruption among port officials.

The curse of port cities situated along drug trafficking routes has been strongly felt across the region. In Buenaventura, Colombia's main cocaine export port, intense fighting between criminal organizations in recent years had local residents living under a state of siege.

Competition between local gangs has set off a huge crime wave in Mexico's touristic port city of Acapulco, which is now the most murderous city in the country and one of the most violent in the world.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COLOMBIA / 22 OCT 2012

A spate of killings in the Rastrojos stronghold of Valle del Cauca, Colombia, points to increased…

PERU / 2 OCT 2013

Drug traffickers arrested in Peru have cast light on how the Shining Path profits from the drug trade, highlighting the…

BRAZIL / 23 APR 2020

As the coronavirus crisis exposes the strains on Latin America’s notoriously overcrowded prison system, members of the region’s criminal elite…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.