The Peruvian Police (PNP) has a new program to increase citizen security: A hotline that citizens can call to report crimes (0800-19800). The hotline will be supervised by the Police’s Directorate General against Organized Crime and will operate from Monday to Sunday, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Hopefully Peruvians will take advantage of this new service, as it is important that they also do their part to reinforce security throughout the nation.
Fortunately, when it comes to internal security challenges in Peru, gone are the days when terrorist movements like the Shining Path and theMRTAdetonated car bombs throughout Lima and other major cities. Nevertheless, citizen insecurity remains a major problem nowadays due to the rise of organized crime and street crime. The renowned Peruvian daily La República explains that the hotline will hopefully encourage citizens to report crimes such as “homicide, kidnapping, weapons trafficking, drug trafficking, human trafficking, terrorism, money laundering, among others;” in other words, just about any crime that the reader can think of.
However, it is important to note that the creation of the aforementioned hotline is not the first time that policymakers resort to these tactics. In mid-2013, the Ministry of Interior created another toll free hotline (800-16016) that citizens can use to report corrupt activities by law enforcement officers. At the time, as part of a media campaign to gain citizen support, the Ministry ran a series of ads across social media that displayed the image of an arrested corrupt police officer, Emilio Rodriguez Izquierdo. The image of the now-imprisoned policeman had the slogan “We do not want corrupt officers like him… Inform us about them!” (This service is still available though the author of this commentary has been unable to find a case in the Peruvian media that exemplifies the effectiveness of this hotline.)
Additionally, even though crime continues to affect Peru, there has been a drastic increase of thePNPs resources which will facilitate solving crimes more effectively. One prime example is a recent murder that occurred in Barranco, a popular district of Lima. On the afternoon of a recent Sunday, October 12, a man was shot in the head while standing outside the “Rincón Gaucho” restaurant. A surveillance camera managed to catch an individual with a motorcycle helmet walking behind the victim, shooting him several times and then fleeing. The surveillance tape, as well as a quick response by police units, aided the prompt arrest of three suspects.
Finally, it is also worth noting that apart from new hotlines and surveillance cameras, thePNPis also acquiring new police vehicles. This is an important development as new police cars are being deployed not only throughout Lima, but also throughout the country’s Northern and Southern regions. For example, in May, the Arequipa region received 12 new NissanTIIDApatrol cars, valued at over US$100 thousand. The vehicles will be utilized to support police stations in communities within the region, such as Melgar, Miraflores, El Porvenir and Mollendo.
Terrorism was Peru’s number one internal security threat throughout the 1980s to early 1990s, but in the first couple of decades of the 21st century, crime in general is the country’s major challenge. Sadly, assassinations in public are becoming dangerously common. Peruvians deserve to live in a country that not only is developing, but is also secure. New hotlines to report crimes, surveillance cameras and new other new equipment for thePNPare certainly important initiatives that should be applauded and supported. Hopefully, Peruvians will now do their part and report crimes since crime hotlines are only effective when they are properly utilized.