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Is Mexico safe

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11. Posted by cvpepper11 (Budding Member 16 posts) 6y

Just follow the same rules you would in another other country, (keep your money to yourself and out of the open, know some phrases in the native language, travel in groups.) youre sure to have a wonderful trip!

12. Posted by yamahu (Budding Member 15 posts) 6y

This is copy of text I have find here:
http://www.voyage.gc.ca/countries_pays/report_rapport-eng.asp?id=184000

"Canadians travelling to Mexico should exercise a high degree of caution due to occasional demonstrations and protests, high levels of criminal activity and violence throughout the country"

I'm really really worry to go there.

13. Posted by yamahu (Budding Member 15 posts) 6y

I actually find much more and I really think I will stay home here in safe Canada. I must be crazy to go there after reading this.

All this info is from here once again
http://www.voyage.gc.ca/countries_pays/report_rapport-eng.asp?id=184000

"Demonstrations and protests regularly occur in large cities. Canadians should avoid large gatherings and demonstrations, which could lead to violent incidents at any time. Participation in political demonstrations by foreigners is prohibited and may result in detention, expulsion and the denial of future entry into Mexico.

Canadians travelling to the state of Oaxaca should monitor local media reports closely. Incidents, roadblocks and clashes continue to occur in the city of Oaxaca. Beach resorts, such as Puerto Escondido and Huatulco, have not been affected by these events.

Warnings on swimming conditions posted on beaches should be taken seriously. Many beaches are not supervised or do not offer warnings. When in doubt, consult the hotel staff.

You should ensure the recreational activities you choose are covered by your travel insurance or by a local insurance policy. Ensure sporting and aquatic equipment is safe and in good condition, especially for scuba diving. Many operators do not conduct regular safety checks. There have been cases of Canadians who have been involved in accidents where operators demanded compensation in excess of the value of the damage caused to the vehicle or equipment.

Exercise caution when standing close to balcony railings, as deaths and injuries have resulted from falls. Height standards for balcony railings in Mexico can be considerably lower than those in Canada.

Crime

Visitors should be aware of their surroundings at all times while travelling throughout the country, even in areas generally considered safe. Crimes, including armed robbery, purse snatching, and pick-pocketing, occur frequently. The arrest and detention rate is low and contributes to high levels of criminality.

If you are the victim of a crime, report it immediately to the Agencia del Ministerio Público nearest to the crime scene. No criminal investigation is possible without a formal complaint to Mexican authorities. You must present photo identification. It is especially important to report the loss or theft of your identification documents (to Mexican authorities and to the Embassy or the nearest consulate of Canada in Mexico), in order to protect yourself should the documents later be misused.

For emergency services, dial 060 or 066.

Organized Crime

In northern Mexico and all cities bordering the United States, organized crime and urban violence affect security. Crimes, murders and firefights linked to drug turf wars have risen substantially, mainly in the states of Baja California, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Guerrero, Michoacán, Nuevo Leon and Sinaloa. Canadians travelling to the Ciudad Juárez region should be particularly aware of their surroundings and monitor local news.

In various parts of the country, military and federal police forces have been deployed in efforts to combat organized crime and improve security conditions. They maintain a visible presence patrolling the streets, setting up roadblocks and conducting random vehicle checks. Armed clashes between security forces and drug groups are commonplace in certain areas and can occur at any time without warning. Travellers could get caught in the crossfire.

In the state of Chiapas, near the border with Guatemala, the use of firearms between criminal gangs has often been reported. While Canadians are not specifically targeted, they risk being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Law enforcement and police protection are often lacking.

Theft

Thefts occur regularly. You should dress down, avoid wearing or carrying expensive jewellery, and carry only small amounts of cash. Keep your luggage secure at all times. In resort areas, leave your passport and valuables in your hotel safe, not in your hotel room or on the beach while you are swimming.

There have been reports of foreigners being targeted in assault and robbery incidents, which are sometimes violent. Victims have been followed upon exchanging or withdrawing large amounts of money in the arrival areas of Benito Juarez International Airport in Mexico City. It is therefore recommended to avoid withdrawing or exchanging money in the public areas of the airport. Should you absolutely need to do so, small and absolutely necessary financial transactions should be done before exiting the customs area.

You should withdraw or exchange money at Automated Banking Machines (ABMs) or exchange bureaus (casas de cambio) during daylight hours only, and inside shops and malls rather than on the street. Keep your credit card in sight when paying.

Assault

Incidents of assault and sexual aggression against foreigners have been reported. In some cases, hotel employees, taxi drivers and security personnel have been implicated. Avoid walking after dark, especially alone, and avoid deserted or under populated areas. You should only frequent bars and night-clubs as part of a group and avoid separating from the group. In cases of sexual assault, police authorities will require a medical examination.

Be careful accepting food, drinks, invitations or rides from strangers or recent acquaintances. Avoid leaving your food and drinks unattended in bars and restaurants. There have been cases of travellers being robbed or assaulted after being drugged.

Kidnappings

Kidnappings occur frequently in large urban areas. The most common practice involves thieves working in cooperation with, or posing as taxi drivers. The thieves force victims to withdraw money from ABMs with their debit or credit cards in exchange for their release. Kidnappers target both the wealthy and middle class. Foreigners are not specifically targeted.

Scams

Criminals posing as police officers have approached tourists and asked for their passports or for foreign currency. There have also been cases of legitimate police officers extorting money from tourists or arresting tourists for minor offences. If this occurs, you should not hand over your money or your passport. Instead, you should ask for the officer’s name, badge number and patrol car number, and proceed to the nearest Agencia del Ministerio Público and Tourism Office to file a complaint.

Avoid divulging personal information to strangers. Scam artists have gathered information on luggage tags in hotel lobbies and later convinced guests to give them their contact information in Canada. Afterwards, they have called parents of travelling Canadians to report that their child has been detained or hospitalized and have requested that money be wired to Mexico. If this occurs, parents or friends should request the name and number of the caller and contact the Emergency Operations Centre (toll‑free within Canada at 1-800-387-3124 or from Mexico at 001‑800-514-0129)."

14. Posted by Calcruzer (Moderator 1989 posts) 6y

Boy, I don't know who wrote that blurb, but I think they are a member of a media outfit designed to scare people to death.

Look, everything written there is true--and also overblown. Kidnapping occurs in Canada and the USA, as do murders, robberies and rapes. Doesn't that mean you can't be safe unless you stay at your home all day--everyday and never go anywhere outside your door? Sure--but personally I think going outside to a park, a restaurant, a concert, visiting other cities and people is worth my time.

Mexico and its cities are no worse than lots of towns in the US and Canada. Personally, I'd feel safer in Mexico City or Cancun or Oaxaca than I would in Detroit or parts of Los Angeles--and I lived in LA for over 25 years.

But it is your choice;--if you want to be scared that there are terrorists and criminals everywhere (as certain politicians and media groups want you to worry about everyday), that's your choice. Me--I have a life to live and I'm not going to be scared by such exaggerated nonsense.

P.S. I've been to 5 continents and have travelled 3 times a year on average for the past 30 years--and have been robbed only once--and that was when I had a single jacket stolen from my suitcase.

15. Posted by yamahu (Budding Member 15 posts) 6y

But why they try to scare people, I don't understand.

16. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru 3562 posts) 6y

Quoting yamahu

But why they try to scare people, I don't understand.

It was written by the Canadian Gov't. The Dept. of Foreign Affairs & International Trade. I don't think they are trying scare tourists, just warn them of the problems they could encounter in Mexico. 'calcruzer' mentioned we have kidnappings in the US, Canada as well. Of course we do, but I have not heard of one in several years outside of a TV drama. Kidnapping is a business in Mexico city and certainly a concern to all that live in that city. As is murder. The only fair way to compare murder rates is by per capita. Mexico comes in 6th, the US is 24th, Canada is 44th. I can see why the Canadian Gov't might warn tourists that Mexico in now 6th in the world in homicides. A warning about the violence in border cities is certainly worth mentioning. The drug cartels have killed appox. 7,000 people in the last few years. That might be something a tourist might want to know if they are heading for Tijuana, Juarez or Nogales.

Gary is right about living your life and not staying in your house to avoid risk. All of us fly to visit foreign countries. It is undisputable that some aircraft crash every year. It is a risk I choose to take when heading over to Thailand or VN. The same with crime in cities. There are sections of Las Vegas I choose not to visit. I am certain there are large parts of LA that Gary is not going to take a nightly stroll, I am not going to either. Most major cities have rough neighborhoods. It is not being an alarmist to avoid high crime sections of a particular city. Like Pres. Bush 44 like to say, "It wouldn't be prudent". My 2 cents.

17. Posted by Roadcrew (Budding Member 18 posts) 6y

Statistically you are safer in Mexico than in the United States. And even safer in the states of Baja Norte and Baja Sur. I know the media likes to make people think otherwise but, that is the fact. Unless you are involved in some illegal activity your chances of being a victim are very very remote in Mexico:)

18. Posted by geriande (Budding Member 3 posts) 6y

Roadcrew is right. Tourists/travelers/foreigners are NOT targets of gun-toting Mexicans in Mexico. If you broke the statistics down, you would learn that. When a foreigner gets killed it's BIG news because it's rare and rare/bizarre happenings make the new and because, I think, folks north of the border love to hate Mexico. The ones who come here, for the most part, love it. So let's hope this thread keeps the naysayers away and encourages savvy travelers to visit this wonderous country. It is safer the farther from the border you travel, I think. Do not do drugs in Mexico. For obvious reasons, Mexican officials like to catch foreign drug users. The latter is my opinion. I know lots of travelers do come here and do drugs. That makes their life a bit riskier.

19. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru 3562 posts) 6y

Quoting Roadcrew

Statistically you are safer in Mexico than in the United States. And even safer in the states of Baja Norte and Baja Sur. I know the media likes to make people think otherwise but, that is the fact. Unless you are involved in some illegal activity your chances of being a victim are very very remote in Mexico:)

Let's be real here. The US is a huge country, as is Mexico. Trying to argue that a person is more at risk in Delta Utah than Juarez Mexico is ludicrous. You are making a general statement that Mexico as a whole is safer than the US, as a whole country. You certainly are not arguing about the murder rate, the kidnapping rate. That is undisputable. Perhaps you are lumping all the other crime stats together and coming up with a comparison rate. If that is the case, then provide a link like I did and support the statement.

20. Posted by LSucettes (Budding Member 5 posts) 6y

As a Tijuana native, Geriande's last post strikes me as the most accurate. There seems to be an insane number of recommendations for foreigners when coming to Mexico in association to our current conflict with cartels and, being from one of the most violent cities in the country myself, I can safely say that it's not very realistic, it's much more complicated than simply kidnapping for the sake of a ransom or concluding that you can be seen as an easy target because of that good ol' 'third world' myth of assuming rich country equals rich citizens... most people I know are very aware that Baja's tourism isn't particularly the luxurious kind (unless we're talking about Los Cabos) and falls more into the young/middle class family/retired category; Secondly, the way kidnappers operate is more advanced than whatever the Canadian gov might be telling you, unless it's someone inexperienced and very naive, it would be foolish to kidnap some random 'gringo' on the street thinking his 5-figure money might be worth the hassle and risk, considering we're also aware of the advanced technology in the north and the fact that you do tend to act upon law and pressure Mexican government to do it when citizens of the US and Canada are involved.

Moving on into the cartel war, which do feels more like a civil war to be quite frank, the 'drama' takes place in residential/work areas and jammed boulevards of some cities, unless we're talking expatriates, I have never seen a Canadian or an American tourist in the area where I live and go around on business simply because there's nothing touristy to see or do here, so getting caught in the middle of a crossfire or being surrounded by real cartel or military convoys is honestly.. not something you'll have to put up with, especially not in rural/desolated areas as all the action involves the border for obvious reasons. In case you're wondering, or perhaps thinking that shootings revolve around random people that refuse to bribe or something like that, I think you might need a recap: There are different cartels for different regions in Mexico.. in the past, cartels would reach a fairly good deals with the government to let them operate quietly and at large.. around 2 years ago, when Felipe Calderón became president, things unrelated to this event also changed, some cartels started to invade other cartel's territories by implementing a series of attacks, disappearances, kidnappings, etc and that's when things fired up as the responses only got nastier.. Felipe Calderón then sent the army to put some things to rest by chasing both cartels and although it was probably the logic thing to do, I don't think anyone could have predicted the number of deaths and the violence it would cause.. now it's cartel vs. cartel and both cartels vs. the government. Despite of what you may have heard on the corrupted Mexican government, the war on cartel is supported and trusted by a lot of Mexicans, the size of crime organizations was reached after decades of government corruption, it's too difficult to get rid of it now, let alone attack it or even stop it, and I for one, think the government is doing what should be done.
So, yes, dangerous situation but for locals only.. I hope that clears up some of the misunderstandings there may be regarding the war on cartels.. I'm not trying to convince or encourage you to come (god knows I wish the tourism would lay low a bit so the government could worry about more important matters like health and education), just stating the facts as it's a very complex problem that a foreign government will not be bothered to explain and instead, will only create confusion and unnecessary fear.

That's the nasty part of Mexico imo.

As for the ugly, a few recommendations
- please avoid dollars, when you go to a foreign country, you use their local currency, Mexican currency is not too complicated, don't flaunt dollars cause there are plenty of people that drool over them and will come up with all kinds of scams (I had an argument recently with a cab driver who wanted to charge me 5 dlls for a ride and 50 in Mexican currency, I told him I'd pay in the latter and he got pissed.. if you do the math, 5 dlls is around 70 pesos these days, not 50, so.. obviously why would I pay more if I have pesos..).
- basic Spanish is essential. at least learn to refuse (no puedo/ni madres/no tengo) or the usual thank you/please/hello phrases..
- don't try to bribe or do 'illegal' things like jumping on a toll highway by an illegal entrance (I've seen many Americans doing this unfortunately), supporting things like sexual abuse or buying drugs. We're big on double standards and there's a mix of embarrassment and resentment when foreigners attempt to do what we understand as 'adding more fuel to the fire'.. what could've been a small/harmless dialogue when stopped by police could potentially turn into an extortion.
- Don't get involved in political/social demonstrations. This happens a lot when Canadians and Americans go to Chiapas.. the situation can be so dramatic and revolutionary-sounding that they feel it's quite an experience to show up in demonstrations or take part in guerrilla movements.. We really do not appreciate neighbors poking their noses into our internal problems so you ARE an easy target in this particular subject if you choose to get involved.
and finally,
- Don't do things you don't do at home (like walking into sketchy areas, drinking in the middle of the street, trusting random people who invite you to clubs/etc and.. hanging drunk out of a balcony perhaps?) and then, feel at home, so you may not get occasionally stopped for money at home, well, you do here, and what do good Mexicans do?, let them get us a ticket or take us to a police station.. always make it as big as you can, have numbers for all local basics.. call more cops, a lawyer, someone local you might know, your embassy, the news channel, even an ambulance.. it's your way, or the highway :), remember you didn't have bad luck for running into them, they had bad luck for choosing to run into you.. that's the right attitude, and avoid the terrified/arrogant/clueless/offended tourist look.. that doesn't work anywhere and Mexicans in particular, appreciate a natural, slightly cynical been-there-done-that type of expression, act as if you've been living in Mexico long enough to know all codes and be confident.

Good luck..

[ Edit: Edited on 27-Nov-2009, at 02:23 by LSucettes ]