The Truth about Safety and Crime in Mexico 2010
Posted by Tony & Cheri on August 7, 2010
For the last year the US and Canadian media have been having a field day in revealing each new atrocity or crime in Mexico. The picture of Mexico as a lawless, dangerous destination has sold a lot of newspapers and filled a lot of time on 24 hour news channels. Yet the truth is the picture of Mexico they present is more myth than fact. Mexico is not the wasteland of drug gang warfare that has been portrayed in the news.
Those of us who live in Mexico and those brave souls who have continued to visit here have long known that the violence of the drug wars, while real and horrifying, is limited to a specific part of this country, far from the beaches and resorts of the beautiful Caribbean paradise that is Mexico’s Riviera Maya. Thankfully, it now seems that some reporters in the US media are slowly becoming aware of that fact.
This past week USA Today featured an article amazingly entitled, “Mexico’s Violence Not as Widespread as Seems.” The article by Mr. Chris Hawley sets forth some important facts (as opposed to the sensationalized conjecture so often seen in reports from Mexico). Some of those facts are:
• A closer look at the latest official statistics indicates that much of Mexico has modest murder rates.
• The murder rate in 2009 was still lower than it was a decade before, long before the Mexican government began a crackdown against the cartels.
• The state with the lowest murder rate is Yucatán, the Gulf of Mexico state known for its beaches and Mayan ruins. Its murder rate of 2 per 100,000 was comparable to Wyoming and Montana.
• Washington, D.C.’s murder rate is nearly quadruple that of the Mexican capital, Mexico City. Washington’s murder rate was 31.4 per 100,000 people in 2008; Mexico City’s rate in 2009 was 8.
Mr Hawley’s balanced article makes several of the points we and others have been making for months now: Yes, the drug wars in central Mexico are terrible and constitute a danger to those living and traveling there. However, those areas are far removed from the beaches and resort areas of Mexico’s Caribbean Coast. Mr Hawley’s entire article can be seen here.
A similar article recently appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle under the title, “Most Dangerous Places in Mexico — and Where it’s Still Safe to Travel” by Christine Delsol. Ms. Delsol’s article notes that:
“Geography is still the overriding safety factor; most of the violence happens around the lucrative points of entry to the United States, particularly in manufacturing areas with a large U.S. presence. You can still go to Mexico, as about 18 million Americans do every year, and have a carefree vacation.”
Ms Delsol also quotes Stratfor, a global intelligence company that advises government agencies, international corporations and other organizations on security issues as finding that:
“Popular tourist areas remain the safest places in the country.” She also notes that “Stratfor singles out Cozumel, Cancún and Los Cabos as the safest of all.” Ms Delsol’s entire article can be seen here.
And of course no less than the First Lady of the United States recently visited Mexico and invited her fellow countrymen to do the same. “I would encourage any American to spend time here,” she said.
In keeping with the facts and the reality of the situation, we would again ask…would you cancel a trip to New York or Orlando because of the high murder rate in Washington DC? If your answer is no, then it should be clear that the same rule applies for Mexico, i.e. violence several thousand miles away should not be a reason to avoid those peaceful and beautiful parts of this wondrous country.
It’s time to talk truth and facts: Mexico’s Caribbean beaches are among the most beautiful, tranquil and safe in the world. We invite you to come and see for yourself.
Read our most current blog entry about safety:
Safety in Playa del Carmen Mexico ~ 2012
‘LIKE’ the Luna Blue Hotel & Bar