Crime in the USA vs. Mexico
Over the next few blogs I would like to share some information I have uncovered to refute the “dire” warnings issued in travel advisories about Mexico.
Just about every country in the world is now experiencing increased crime rates. However, there are usually safe areas in every country where the crime rate is lower or non-existent. Ajijic, Lake Chapala is one of those safe areas.
The US State Department put out a warning about the violence in Mexico. Although the report states that 128 Americans were killed in Mexico between Jan 2006 and December 2008 one has only to look more closely at the data for the northwestern part of Mexico including Rosarito Beach, Ensenada, Mexicali, San Felipe, Tecate and Puerto Penasco to see that 42 Americans were killed, from all causes (there were at least 4 suicides) in the last three years combined.
Those are the largest tourist areas of North West Mexico excluding Tijuana . In Los Angeles County, there have been 103 murders in the last six months. In 2008 there were 324 homicides in L.A.County. People in Los Angeles would probably say that there are certain unsafe areas to avoid. According the latest FBI crime statistics, Phoenix, AZ, is the kidnapping capital of the US. People in Phoenix would probably say that there are certain unsafe areas to avoid. People also living in Mexico would say the same thing about certain unsafe areas to avoid.
For more than 12 years more than five major US Motor Coach Tour Companies travel the Mexican Copper Canyon route every week with around 40 older/retiree passengers per coach. They travel through San Carlos even through the Copper Canyon, then up through Chihuahua and Juarez. There is even one company that travels exclusively from El Paso/Juarez to the Canyon and back; the areas covered by news reports. That’s over 7000 tourists per year. In all those years, including 2009, there has not been one incidence of drug related violence against any of them.
Recent FBI statistics show the murder rate per 100,000 inhabitants in Baltimore is 43.3, Washington D.C. is 29.1 and Detroit is 47. Mexico, however, which suffered an especially violent year in 2008, recorded a murder rare of about 10 per 100,000. Ergo life is statistically far more dangerous in the north.
US citizens should travel on the main toll roads (cuota) during daylight hours which are very safe when traveling in Mexico.
Reports of violence are extremely overblown. Some recent visitors to Mexico say the reports of disorder have been overly exaggerated. An Arizona resident said that “I would definitely say that the impression that the Americans get in the media is more intense and hyped-up than reality.”
A New Mexican said “Millions of people go to Mexico every year with any incident whatsoever.”
One should always be cautious when traveling anywhere. Looking at crime statistics, it would appear that the Americans are safer in Mexico than they are in many parts of the Unites States.
It is very important to remember that the rise I violence is due to the pressure being placed on the cartels and corruption by a Mexican President and administration that is dedicated to cleaning things up and removing as much corruption as possible. This administration has partnered with the US in this vitally important endeavor.
This in the long term is a very good thing. So as long as you are not coming to Mexico to involve yourself in drug trafficking chances are you will be safe.