Is MEXICO Safe?
Updated: Sep 7, 2019
Every time I talk about Mexico, whether it be about moving there or traveling there, it never fails, I ALWAYS get that same question. (and BTW - there are about 1.5million US expats living in Mexico - we comprise the largest majority of expats in the country)
I understand that people are concerned about safety, but it's interesting that when we traveled to Paris or to Europe, no one ever questioned us about the safety of those cities/countries.
Why is that?
I think that part of it stems from the perception that Mexico is nothing but a country of drug cartels. Are there drug cartels in Mexico? Yes, however, have you ever looked at the geography of Mexico? There are 31 states in Mexico. It's a very big country. Consider how often there is violence related to drug cartels and where it's happening, you will find isolated areas and you can do some research to find out which areas are safe. If there are drug cartels operating in the areas you are considering, you definitely want to thoroughly investigate, however, it's ridiculous to take an incident in one part of the country and assume that it applies to the entire country.
Is the United States safe?
People are afraid when they hear about violence and crime, I get it, but I have yet to hear of an incident of a mass shooting in an elementary, high school or college, at a marathon, movie theater, mall or church in Mexico! I have not heard of Mexican police stopping innocent black and brown people while they are driving, or for standing on a corner, or a child playing in a playground or just minding their own business and then killing them for no reason at all! And let's not forget incidents such as the blowing up of the Murrah Building or the Twin Towers. Sit back and think about the violence in your own country! I don't see many travel advisories about traveling to NY, Chicago, Oklahoma, Texas etc
Americans are living in a constant state of fear!
The other reason and this is a major one, in my opinion -- consider the United State's current relationship with Mexico and the partisan media bias (remember all of the US media is owned by 6 corporations). If you don't bother to do your own research, you will most likely buy into the hype. All this negative talk about building a wall and Mexicans coming to America to take our jobs only adds to the confusion and generates more fear and hysteria. BTW most of the migrants being held at the borders are not even from Mexico. They come from Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and El Salvador - the very countries which have been destabilized by US intervention - (here's a link to an excellent video worth watching if you have not seen it )
Immigrants from Latin American countries are no different than immigrants from Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. They move to the United States — legal or undocumented — to find better opportunities for their families. That they pay taxes and add more to the economy than they take out is rarely acknowledged. The myth fed by the media, that immigrants come here to get “free stuff” like social benefits, is simply false. There is also a marked difference between the acceptance of white and non white immigrants. How Border Crossing Became a Crime in the United States
Is Mexico perfect? Of course not and no country is 100% safe (especially as it pertains to large cities). In all instances, no matter where you travel, you should exercise good judgement, think about your personal safety when making decisions and research where you are going. If there are reports of crime there, where is it and how often is it occurring? Then stay away from areas that you feel are unsafe (just like you would in the US). But, I urge you -- do your own research and do not be swayed by what you hear on the 6:00 news! Tourism is a BIG market in Mexico, you may miss out on some awesome travel opportunities.
Here is an online resource called Semáforo Delictivo. It compiles independent statistical data (i.e. it has nothing to do with the government) gathered from a variety of sources (including surveys which go right to the people). It then puts the information in an easy-to-understand graphic interface particular to the city that you are interested in living in and then with the types of crime you might encounter. Source