In one of his first executive decisions, President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski has extended the state of emergency in the port city of Callao for a further 30 days. The measure was first applied in late December 2015 and has been renewed monthly since then.
The state of emergency allows the police force to search and arrest without a warrant and to hold detainees without charges.
The measure, to fight the port’s notoriously high crime rate, has not been particularly successful so far — the crime rate figures are almost the same as they were last year.
According to the police, however, the measure has allowed them to arrest 1,250 suspects since December, and close to 40% of these have been tried and convicted and are serving time in prison. Of those arrested, 51 were hired guns involved in the murder of gang members competing in organized crime and of victims of threats and blackmail in protection rackets.
“This is not a situation that is sustainable in the long term,” Kuczynski told RPP Radio, but that he would be discussing the options with the minister of the Interior later in the month.
The port is one of the key exit points for cocaine smuggling.
During the campaign debates, President Kuczynski said that higher crime rates in ports such as Callao and Chimbote is due to drug trafficking, which also contributes to corruption.