My sister arrives in Cancun in a few hours. She’s coming to house sit and care for Carmine while Diane and I head over to the other side of Mexico for about 8-9 days. I’m on assignment for International Living Magazine to report on what expat life is like in the Lake Chapala area, the largest nest of expats in Mexico. I’m also going to spend some time in Puerto Vallarta, a beautiful city on the Pacific Coast. When I return, I’ll be busy writing numbers of articles on business opportunities, the real estate markets, recreation, safety and cost of living along with highlighting the lives of a number of expats who have made the move to Mexico from the U.S. and Canada.
I’m really looking forward to the trip. Mexico is a very large and diverse country and it will be great to see more of it. One of the questions that is most frequently asked about Mexico is, “Is it safe?” With the press often reporting on some drug-related violence, it’s easy to understand why some in the U.S. and Canada have become fearful of this wonderful country. And with one Presidential hopeful offering his strong and inaccurate rebuke of Mexico and its wonderful people, in the most vulgar terms, those who know no better are being fed additional misinformation.
I’m just completing a piece on Mexico’s crime rates and safety and after digging through pages of boring statistics, the truth of the matter is that Mexico and the U.S. are nearly tied when it comes to crime and safety statistics, both countries falling into the “moderate crime” category when comparing 122 countries to each other. Mexico’s headline crimes such as murder, kidnapping and extortion are almost always related to drug and organized crime activities in certain areas that are usually close to the U.S. border. It seems like politicians and law enforcement types who dare to move against organized crime here are…uh…neutralized. And competition in the drug business can be a bit nasty. But those headline crimes are mostly limited to areas you can easily avoid. Also, one can’t think too harshly of the drug sellers when their business is supplying a growing demand in the U.S. You know…the whole supply and demand thing.
As the U.S. slowly moves to decriminalize Marijuana, the drug problems related to it will become less and less. Other illegal drugs, however, will continue to be a problem. One only has to look at Colorado to see the ridiculous amount of surplus state revenue now being generated with significantly reduced crime rates all related to that state’s legalization, taxation and regulation of Marijuana. An absolute success story!
Here on the Yucatan Peninsula where we live, and particularly along the Caribbean Coast known as the Riviera Maya, crime is really low, especially violent crime. Sure, you’ll get tourist crimes like pick-pocketing and the occasional robbery but that’s about it.
In short, yes…Mexico is safe, statistically as safe as the United States if that makes you feel any better. And we think it’s a great place to live!
It’s a gorgeous day here in Cancun with severe-clear weather and temps promising to rise above 75 degrees. I just endured the morning bikini parade as a dozen or more women made their way to the beach/pool area. Diane is having her first cup of coffee downstairs and Carmine has joined me here in the office, reminding me that it’s time for his beach walk.
Wherever you are and whatever plans you are making, I hope you won’t permit fear to steal the life you could have.