Since we started going to Mexico regularly back in 2005, our friends and family constantly ask about safety and/or say we’re just crazy for going down there. Telling us stories of people who went on vacation and woke up in bathtub full of ice missing a kidney or highlighting articles about recent violent crime. I know they mean well and love them for it. That said, there is a bit of a double standard. I say that with a grin and in the most respectful way (you know who you are 😀🤐). For example one close friend thinks nothing of regularly visiting St. Louis, MO which consistently ranks as having one of the highest crime rates in the US. And, every single one of my friends and family who have expressed concerns over our going to Mexico either live in or regularly visit cities ranked highest on “most dangerous cities in America” lists (Google it). I mean?!?! I’d feel silly warning them about safety risks or sending links on recent crime much less advising they should avoid the entire city altogether. Bad things can happen anywhere but they know areas/times to avoid and how to minimize risk. In my experience it’s the same down Mexico way.
Having been violently mugged back in the early 90’s in New Orleans, personal safety and especially that of my family is something I take very seriously. But lets admit there is at least some added risk in most activities. I refuse to let fear dictate my actions, unless we’re talking about heights, that’s just stupid. I love St. Louis, Chicago, Anchorage, Houston and the list of “extremely dangerous” US destinations I visit or have lived in goes on. They’re great places! When there, you likely have some sort of a travel plan and avoid certain areas, maintain a sense of awareness and conduct yourself in a way that minimizes (but does not eliminate) the chances of becoming a target. Again, in my experience it’s the same down Mexico way.
I guess it all boils down to perspective. My perspective is that the world is full of both awesomeness and a potential for danger no matter where you go. To experience the awesomeness anywhere inevitably comes with certain risks whether that be a night on the town, day at the park, beach, fishing, hiking or whatever. The point here is that while I respect Mexico may not be for everyone, it bothers me when people so easily write off an entire country based on a few anecdotal headlines when similar headlines in local papers are brushed aside.
You may have heard a recent story about a young man killed in Playa Del Carmen. Our hearts ache for him and his family. Regardless of the circumstances that led up to this crime it was terrible, should never happen anywhere and I pray justice is served.
In closing, while the thought of running into trouble outside the US definitely gives me pause, the fact is that the vast majority of Mexico is as safe or safer than destinations here in the states. Experiencing the beauty of the land, sea and people there is special just as is visiting our favorite locations here. We plan to enjoy them all as often as we can and will always do our best to stay informed and avoid trouble wherever we find ourselves.
For more information on crime and safety in Mexico I would recommend these posts from the Two Expats blog (a great source of info):