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

AUC / 9 DEC 2010

An analysis by the think tank Verdad Abierta says that the largest criminal bands in Colombia, including the ERPAC, Rastrojos,…

COCAINE / 24 NOV 2021

An unusually drawn-out feud between two rival gangs in northern Costa Rica has left over 150 people dead in five…

PERU / 23 MAY 2013

Eighty five drug traffickers who had their sentence commuted by ex-president Alan Garcia in Peru have been re-arrested on drug…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Environmental and Academic Praise

17 JUN 2022

InSight Crime’s six-part series on the plunder of the Peruvian Amazon continues to inform the debate on environmental security in the region. Our Environmental Crimes Project Manager, María Fernanda Ramírez,…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Series on Plunder of Peru’s Amazon Makes Headlines

10 JUN 2022

Since launching on June 2, InSight Crime’s six-part series on environmental crime in Peru’s Amazon has been well-received. Detailing the shocking impunity enjoyed by those plundering the rainforest, the investigation…

THE ORGANIZATION

Duarte’s Death Makes Waves

3 JUN 2022

The announcement of the death of Gentil Duarte, one of the top dissident commanders of the defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), continues to reverberate in Venezuela and Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Cattle Trafficking Acclaim, Investigation into Peru’s Amazon 

27 MAY 2022

On May 18, InSight Crime launched its most recent investigation into cattle trafficking between Central America and Mexico. It showed precisely how beef, illicitly produced in Honduras, Guatemala…

THE ORGANIZATION

Coverage of Fallen Paraguay Prosecutor Makes Headlines

20 MAY 2022

The murder of leading anti-crime prosecutor, Marcelo Pecci, while on honeymoon in Colombia, has drawn attention to the evolution of organized crime in Paraguay. While 17 people have been arrested…