Dec 11, 2011, 3:16 PM
Deja vu. My wife and I lived in the Lakeside area for two years, prior to moving to Mazatlan 10 1/2 years ago. There had been an outbreak of robberies that year and the year before, with at least one murder (turned out it was one expat killing another). There were a couple of well attended meetings then as well and many of the same suggestions now being made were made then. As far as I can recall, it wasn't any of the measures recommended at the meetings that led to violence subsiding. It was time.
As someone posted earlier, "it's where the money is" (or words that were similar). The expats in the Lakeside stick out like the proverbial sore thumbs. There, unlike larger cities like Mazatlan, they are a conspicuous majority, especially in Ajiic and some of the surrounding communities. They have transformed the area, both for the better and the worst. They support businesses that would not exist in a Mexican-only community with a similar population (restaurants, Walmart, SuperLake etc.). They create jobs that would not otherwise exist for Mexicans, as waiters, maids, gardeners, realtors etc. That's the good news. That bad news is that they have driven up real estate prices and rents and even food prices to levels most Mexicans can't afford. Many display wealth beyond the reach of those same Mexicans. So the disparities exist now and have for many years. Given that it's quite remarkable how little property crime-related violence there has been. This is especially the case given how oblivious many expats are to those disparities. Most can't and don't talk to their maids and gardeners about their lives and so are not able to create friendships that might lower the wall between them. That would help. But it would also help, as one of the other posters suggested. if they didn't display their affluence quite as excessively as they do. Wearing expensive jewelry is probably not a good idea, for example. Good security is important. Upper middle class Mexicans have iron bars on their windows and doors and expats should have the same kind of security. Don't carry a lot of cash on your person. Keep the credit cards at home, under lock and key. If approached by someone who looks like he may have a gun, hand him your wallet - probably with a smile.
This too will pass, as the outbreak of property crime related violence did 10-11 years ago. The Mexicans, by and large, are very tolerant hosts. You have transformed the lovely area you live in, turning it into a Mexican version of a town you might find in California. They have shared that area with you in peace for all of these years and they will continue to in the future. But do them the courtesy of learning some of their language, their customs and the history of their country. They deserve that and you do too.