Violent crimes that include carjackings, assault, and armed robbery are common in Lima. Sometimes, people are kidnapped and forced to withdraw money from automatic teller machines before they are released. Thieves posing as taxi drivers prey on passengers, often in stolen vehicles. To curb crime, the government authorized military court trials for kidnappers and armed gang members in 1998. Tourists are particularly vulnerable. The theft of luggage and travel documents, including passports, is common at the international airport.
Peru's human rights record has improved, with a sharp decrease in the numbers of political disappearances and extra-judicial killings by government forces. Yet, international human rights groups continue to monitor the delicate political situation in Peru. The U.S. government remained concerned about reports of torture, arbitrary detentions, lack of due process, and Peru's reluctance to punish government and military officials accused of abuses. In June of 1999, members of the U.S. House of Representatives said they were concerned at the "erosion of democracy and the rule of law" in Peru.