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Safety in Mexico

One thing is sure and it's no legend, Mexico is not the safest country of the world. Safety problems are a real thing but respecting some common sense rules of safety nothing should happen to you and your trip to Mexico should go ahead without any incidents.

Potential dangers

Mexico isn't renowned for being safe. The local newspapers and even sometimes international ones tell of kidnappings and of atrocious deaths. Throughout your trip in Mexico you will notice that the press have no issue showing photos of mutilated and bloodied bodies. The voyeurism has no limit.

You will be surprised that when getting on a bus that an employee of the company takes a photo or films you. Officially it's to dissuade aggressors who might attack during the journey. Officially it's also said that it's to be able to identify victims in case of a kidnap. The risk of abduction also exists if you take an unofficial taxi.

The risk of thievery and aggression is also very real . It's particularly true of large cities but it is also wise to be on the look out when going on walks in more secluded areas.

Pickpockets exercise their awareness in transports and above all in touristic areas. Small swindles of all types - especially with tourists - occur, so the local police generally prefer to go for the purses of the local population.

The drug trade is also a real problem in Mexico leading to guerilla warfare between the cartels and the State On a personal level you will see the small delinquency that results from this.

Mounted police

How to avoid problems

Although it's worth being aware of danger, it's best not to be excessively paranoid. By being generally careful nothing should happen to you.

Don't throw your money around and try not to look too much like a tourist. Don't tempt thieves and pickpockets with a wallet which hangs out of your pocket or wearing notable jewellery or too beautiful a watch. Blend into the crowd.

In case of aggression don't do anything because you will only put yourself in further danger. Remain as calm as possible and don't resist. To avoid being left with nothing, don't keep all your money in the same place. Multiply your hiding places and guard a certain amount that could be easily accessed so as to satisfy your aggressor.

Concerning the risk of kidnap it is always important to only go in official taxis. It is also very inadvisable to go anywhere near drugs. There is a small chance of falling into a straight up payment but the risk is already large in curtailing a small dealer of the quarter. Know also that the police have a true fight with narcotraffickers (involving a level of corruption as well) and checks are very numerous. You have been warned.

David Debrincat
326 contributions
Updated 17 November 2015
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