How Safe Is Mexico?
The US authorities have produced and continue to produce a myriad of facts and data about the relative safety of Mexico as a whole; however this is almost always swamped by lurid tabloid headlines.
It is understandable that people worry about their safety when they travel, but some of that factual data is worth repeating here:
- “When it came to homicides with firearms, the US ranked 7th in the world and Mexico 17th, (39.56 per 100,000 vs. Mexico’s 20.6). Yes, that means the US has 92% more homicides with guns than Mexico."
- "Recent FBI statistics show the murder rate per 100,000 inhabitants in Baltimore is 43.3, Washington D.C. is 29.1 and Detroit is 47. Mexico, however, which has an especially violent reputation, recorded a murder rate of about 10 per 100,000."
- “Mexico is roughly the size of Western Europe with a population of 112m. Of Mexico’s 2,500 municipalities, only 18 have been considered to be a security problem... that leaves 2482 very safe places if you want to travel to Mexico... the majority of Mexico’s organized-crime related violence took place in only three of Mexico’s 31 states: Chihuahua, Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon. Todos Santos is in Baja California – a lifetime away from these states.”
- “More drive-by shootings occur in an average Los Angeles week than have ever taken place in nearly more than three decades in Cabo San Lucas, which has a huge amount more tourist traffic than sleepy little Todos Santos.”
- “According to FBI crime statistics, Mexico is twice as safe for Texans, than Texas (and three times safer than Houston).”
American late night television talk show host and former stand-up comedian, Jay Leno joked recently, that, "If you're worried about drug gangs and drug cartels, don't travel to Los Angeles."
To suggest that there is no crime in Baja California would be as irresponsible as to suggest that it is too dangerous to travel here at all. Mexico’s Ministry of Tourism announced in February, that 2011 was a record-breaking year in which the country saw 22.67 million international travelers; so amongst that volume of tourists there are bound to be some isolated incidents.
The key for visitors is to minimize any potential risk to them or their families, in exactly the same way that they would seek to minimize such risks at home!
People tend to focus in on the headline crimes – major events such as homicides. Stanford University conducted detailed research on the homicide rate across all of Mexico’s states between 1990 and 2010. In the area of Baja Sur, where Todos Santos is located, there were a total of 4 homicides recorded in that 10 year period!
So we think it safe to say that the risk of serious violence in Todos Santos is negligible and any other risks are much more likely to be of a minor sort which, whilst inconvenient and undoubtedly distressing at the time, will not be life-threatening!
Los Cabo's selection in 2012 as host to the G20 summit further testified to the fact that the area is safe and that the Mexican Government has taken great measures to help maintain its position that Mexico is a safe destination.
It is important to understand that Baja California cities like Cabo San Lucas, San Jose del Cabo, Todos Santos, East Cape and La Paz have never been the subject of US State Department advisories and warnings.