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Jim Scherrer


Jan 7, 2010, 7:11 AM

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The Facts Concerning Violent Crimes Committed Against US Tourists in Mexico

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By: Jim Scherrer

This article is prepared in response to an extremely misleading and obviously biased piece recently published on a site known as OfficialWire.com and shown under the topic of Official Spin.; and spin it is! It was written by Derek Armstrong and posted on his website, Crime Report USA, as follows:

Mexico the Most Dangerous Country for Americans
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 at 3:39PM U.S. Department of State Warns Largest Number of Non Natural Deaths Occur in Mexico.
Derek Armstrong, Chief Crime Correspondent
Crime Report USA: Mexico is overwhelmingly the most dangerous place for non-service Americans, topping the list of destinations with the highest "Non Natural Deaths", according to the US Department of State:
Top 5 Countries for Non Natural Deaths
Mexico 651
Iraq 82
Costa Rica 69
Thailand 67
Germany 63

Since shocking and misleading headlines such as "Mexico the Most Dangerous Country for Americans" are designed to be attention grabbing, tourists that read such nonsense might want to do their homework before considering vacation destinations in Mexico; they must understand the facts and not be frightened by ridiculous fear tactics put forth by those with ulterior motives.

At first glance, the above article seems to indicate 651 non natural deaths occurred in Mexico last year, however, when the reader digs deeper into the article he finds that the data was obtained over a three year period from 2006 through 2008, resulting in about 220 non natural US deaths per year in Mexico. Of the 220 non natural deaths per year, approximately 50 are homicides, the balance being auto accidents, drownings, suicides, etc. per the US Department of State.

Next, the reader needs to understand that approximately 20 million Americans visit Mexico each year, far more than any other country in the world per the US Dept Commerce. Therefore, we know that about 50 individuals out of every 20 million US visitors to Mexico are murdered during a violent crime every year while in Mexico.

Okay, let's take it a step further; let's determine where in Mexico these violent crimes take place. When reviewing the data presented by the US Department of State, you'll see that the majority of these violent crimes occur in the border towns such as Ciudad Juarez and Tijuana. Therefore, the next time you plan your winter vacation you might want to avoid these areas; they're probably about as dangerous as Chicago, Detroit, or Los Angeles! Instead of vacationing in beautiful downtown Juarez, you might want to consider a resort destination such as Cancun, Cozumel, Cabo San Lucas, Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, Acapulco, Huatulco, or Puerto Vallarta.

As 13 year residents of Puerto Vallarta, we can attest to the safety of this magnificent resort destination south of the border where the possession of hand guns is prohibited and violent crime is virtually nonexistent. For proof of this claim, we'll first determine the number of US citizens that visit PV annually and then get the facts related to violent crime in the area.

There are in excess of 200 cruise ships that visit PV from the US every year with an average of more than 2,000 passengers each; i.e. approximately 400,000 passengers arriving annually. During the six month "high season", PV receives more than 50 international flights daily. Let's assume that 40 are from the US carrying an average of 100 passengers on each plane; that's more than 700,000 passengers arriving by air during the six winter months. Next, let's assume that 30 planes arrive daily in PV during the six summer months of which 20 are from the US; that's another 350,000 passengers arriving by air during the "low season". Finally, we'll assume that another 50,000 people drive to PV every year. Totaling these conservative numbers, we find that at least 1.5 million tourists from the US visit Vallarta annually. A number of websites such as http://www.travels.com/destinations/mexico/puerta-vallarta-information put the total number of visitors at 2 million, others such as http://www.puertovallarta.net/fast_facts/where_is_puerto_vallarta.php peg it at 2.2 million and assuming at least 75% are from the US, our estimate of 1.5 million US visitors to PV per year is quite accurate.

Now, let's return to the data from the US Department of State. You will notice that during 2008, there were merely five non natural deaths of US visitors in Puerto Vallarta and only one was a homicide. (Chances are that he was doing something or involved with something that he shouldn't have been!). That's one violent death out of 1.5 million visitors for the year or less than 0.7 per million.

According to US government provided data, the US has 6.2 violent deaths annually per 100,000 residents. This information is readily available at the US Bureau of Justice and on other websites such as http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/FASTATS/homicide.htm. In other words, we have 62 homicides or violent crimes resulting in death per million residents in the US, or 93 homicides per 1.5 million; i.e., 93 times as many as in Puerto Vallarta!

You'll notice that the author of the referenced article is from Toronto, Canada; a beautiful city with a reputation for being quite safe, having a homicide rate of only 3.1 homicides per 100,000 residents per the Toronto Police Department or approximately half of that in the US. Still, that equates to 31 per million residents or 46 murders per 1.5 million people, i.e. nearly 50 times as many as the number of Americans murdered in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico! For example, in 2007, Toronto, with a population of 2,750,000 inhabitants, experienced 84 homicides or approximately 31 per million people.

You'll also notice that the author of the article publishes his propaganda on sites where feedback and comments are impossible; is it any wonder? There have been plenty of knowledgeable folks that have read preposterous articles such as the one addressed above and they too, are voicing their opinions and commenting on websites such as TheTruthAboutMexico.com. For the most part, these are people with intimate knowledge of Mexico and if it were dangerous for Americans in Mexico, they probably wouldnŽt be living or vacationing there on a routine basis.
(Yes, I am biased and yes, I have an axe to grind [representing real estate buyers in Puerto Vallarta]; but more importantly, I feel it imperative for someone to set the record straight and not allow misleading propaganda to be published on the Internet without being challenged)

Finally, the above data tends to indicate that living in Mexican resort areas such as Puerto Vallarta is nearly 100 times safer than living in the US and 50 times safer than in Toronto, however this is really not the case since the data is skewed by the element of time. The millions of Americans living in the US or Toronto are permanent residents spending 52 weeks per year at home whereas the Americans visiting PV are only temporary. In order to adjust for this time differential, the following assumptions must be made: Those 400,000 cruise boat passengers spend only one day in town, those 1,050,000 passengers arriving by air spend an average of 10 days in town, and half of the remaining 50,000 that consider themselves to be American expats live in PV only during the "high season" while the other half live here year round resulting in an average for this group of 40 weeks per year in Vallarta. The following calculations show that this is equivalent to 68,200 Americans living full time in Puerto Vallarta.

400,000 cruise x 1day + 1,050,000 air x 10 days + 50,000 expats x 280 days =
year year year

400,000 days + 10,500,000 days + 14,000,000 days = 24,900,000 days
year year year year

24,900,000 days x year = 68,200 full time expats in PV
year 365 days

One American homicide per year in PV per 68,200 American expats equates to 14.6 per million or less than half experienced at the safe home town of the author of the misleading article and 1/4 as many as in the US.

In summarizing, the next time someone insinuates that traveling to or vacationing in Mexico is dangerous for Americans, you can present the facts to them. Hopefully, after reviewing this analytical approach with the documented facts and figures provided by the US government, you'll feel much more comfortable and inclined to visit our beautiful Paradise south of the border, where you have four times better odds of surviving than in the good olŽ US of A!

(Please refer to links for all data provided herein)

Jim Scherrer has owned property in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for 26 years and resided there for the past twelve years. The mission of his series of more than 70 articles pertaining to retirement in Puerto Vallarta is to reveal the recent changes that have occurred in Vallarta while dispelling the misconceptions about living conditions in Mexico. For the full series of articles regarding travel to and retirement in Vallarta as well as pertinent Puerto Vallarta links, please visit us at PVREBA.
Attachments: 67.jpg (41.2 KB)



Anonimo

Jan 7, 2010, 7:38 AM

Post #2 of 48 (13484 views)

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Re: [Jim Scherrer] The Facts Concerning Violent Crimes Committed Against US Tourists in Mexico

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"they must understand the facts and not be frightened by ridiculous fear tactics put forth by those with ulterior motives."

What could be their motives? What can they gain by misleding propaganda?

"En Boca Cerrada No Entran Moscas."

Saludos,
Anonimo


Reefhound


Jan 7, 2010, 9:53 AM

Post #3 of 48 (13442 views)

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Re: [Jim Scherrer] The Facts Concerning Violent Crimes Committed Against US Tourists in Mexico

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I would agree that the risk is sensationalized and absolute numbers have to be put into perspective as a ratio or percentage to reflect actual risk. The author attempted to do so but I think his estimates are off. For example, he estimates the average tourist arriving by air in PV stays 10 days. Not a chance. Most of the deals advertised by Funjet and Expedia and the like are 3 or 4 night trips. 7 night trips are popular as well.


Peter


Jan 7, 2010, 3:48 PM

Post #4 of 48 (13366 views)

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Re: [Reefhound] The Facts Concerning Violent Crimes Committed Against US Tourists in Mexico

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If one were to revise the figures, double them, to say Mexico is no more dangerous than Canada, or at worst to say it is less dangerous than the US, what does that tell us? It could confirm the veracity of those comments from many that live here in Mexico that say they feel safer here than on the streets of their hometown in the US.


chinagringo


Jan 7, 2010, 5:13 PM

Post #5 of 48 (13344 views)

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Re: [Peter] The Facts Concerning Violent Crimes Committed Against US Tourists in Mexico

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Granted the World has become a far different place than it was some years ago! That said, one would be hard pressed to find many examples where things have actually improved when it comes to crimes against others, especially the violent variety. Combine this with the increased number of ignorant tourists traveling and behaving stupidly and a media that sensationalizes most anything of value and you will develop an image of the worst.

The statement often read about feeling safer in Mexico than in the U.S. must be evaluated by the source. Some of the people making such a statement have been living in Mexico for a number of years and only have anecdotal evidence about what may be happening in their former home towns. Another segment lives in a "gringo ghetto" and would never think about traveling even short distances out of their personal safety zones. Then you have a group of people that have preconceived ideas about not only Mexico but also its citizens and how one also has to be on their guard about what may happen.

Since 2005, we have put on between 20K and 30K miles driving from New Mexico into various areas of Mexico and have NEVER experienced a single incident that would change our minds about the safety of traveling in Mexico! No different than traveling here in New Mexico, we are aware of the situation around us and don't venture into harms way. Could we have been caught up in an ancillary incident beyond our control? CERTAINLY but when it is your time to go - so be it!

All that said, we do follow our personal rule and well documented suggestion that one never drives the open roads after dark! We will drive to dinner in an urban area but generally try to get some exercise by walking to dinner.
Regards,
Neil
Albuquerque, NM



(This post was edited by chinagringo on Jan 7, 2010, 5:25 PM)


Jim Scherrer


Jan 8, 2010, 1:44 PM

Post #6 of 48 (13228 views)

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Re: [Anonimo] The Facts Concerning Violent Crimes Committed Against US Tourists in Mexico

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Derek Armstrong is the founder of Persona Corp in Ontario. See http://www.personaco.com/persona-client-list/ for their list of clients.

My guess is that his ulterior motive is to frighten potential travelers to Mexico and in doing so, attract them to his clients in Ontario, Canada. (see Ministry of Tourism and Recreation)


Jim Scherrer


Jan 8, 2010, 1:51 PM

Post #7 of 48 (13222 views)

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Re: [Jim Scherrer] The Facts Concerning Violent Crimes Committed Against US Tourists in Mexico

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This further ties Derek Armstrong to Crime Report USA and Persona Corp: http://74.125.155.132/...mp;hl=en&ct=clnk


yucatandreamer


Jan 8, 2010, 2:12 PM

Post #8 of 48 (13208 views)

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Re: [Jim Scherrer] The Facts Concerning Violent Crimes Committed Against US Tourists in Mexico

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It is certainly possible that Derek Armstrong has ulterior motives but I would be really concerned about the person who couldn't decide whether he wanted to go to Toronto or Puerto Vallarta. Somehow that doesn't compute, particularly this time of year.


Jim Scherrer


Jan 8, 2010, 2:37 PM

Post #9 of 48 (13200 views)

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Re: [yucatandreamer] The Facts Concerning Violent Crimes Committed Against US Tourists in Mexico

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20 million US tourists visit Mexico each year; Canada is second with 13 million, the UK is a distant 3rd with 3 million, Italy and France with 2 million, i.e. Mexico attracts almost as many visitors as the next 4 countries combined. It would seem pretty logical to attempt to frighten tourists considering a Mexico vacation and perhaps attract some of the 20 million to Canada. The Mexican market is obviously the ripest for their pickinŽ.


arbon

Jan 8, 2010, 3:17 PM

Post #10 of 48 (13184 views)

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Re: [Jim Scherrer] The Facts Concerning Violent Crimes Committed Against US Tourists in Mexico

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"It would seem pretty logical to attempt to frighten tourists considering a Mexico vacation and perhaps attract some of the 20 million to Canada."

I don't think "logical" comes to mind, considering the population of Canada is 33,000,000.

If canadians can't afford the money to return to Mexico each Winter, (in their long johns) there is no room for any one to come to Canada. (even for the Winter Olympics)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Reefhound


Jan 8, 2010, 4:15 PM

Post #11 of 48 (13155 views)

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Re: [Jim Scherrer] The Facts Concerning Violent Crimes Committed Against US Tourists in Mexico

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Maybe so but I agree with the other guy. Don't see much similarity between Mexico and Canada. I don't know anyone who says "let's go on vacation this year, let's go somewhere safe". I think they go to Mexico for the beaches, tropical weather, and some for the culture. If it's not safe enough there, I think they'll go to another Caribbean location or Florida.


richmx2


Jan 8, 2010, 5:37 PM

Post #12 of 48 (13136 views)

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Re: [Reefhound] The Facts Concerning Violent Crimes Committed Against US Tourists in Mexico

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Not everything human beings do is logical. We're not all Spock (and even he, once every seven years, indulged in "highly illogical" activities). Figuring out why English speakers have the opinions of Spanish speakers that they've held for the last few centuries, and why Mexico is seen as a "dangerous place" -- and why so many freak out when outside their known parameters -- or why they try to rationalize their fears -- is an exercize in futility. They do, because they do.


http://mexfiles.net
http://editorialmazatlan.com


frito

Jan 8, 2010, 6:11 PM

Post #13 of 48 (13125 views)

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Re: [richmx2] The Facts Concerning Violent Crimes Committed Against US Tourists in Mexico

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I'm guessing the average American is just very uninformed and bases his views on assumptions and prejudice. He sees millions coming to the U.S. and assumes Mexico must be a terrible place. He doesn't even realize a large % are from other countries besides Mexico. He sees them living 10, 15, 20 to a house and thinks they live like, well, you know. He doesn't realize they are assisting each other to live as cheaply as possible so that they can send money home. He sees them take jobs doing things that to him is degrading. He doesn't know they see any job as honorable. It's about providing for their families, not status.

There are some problems with illegal immigration but when I see people stooped over all day picking crops in very hot, humid weather so that they can give their children a chance at a better life I have to respect that person.

According to Wikipedia's article on murder rates by country Mexico averages 10 muders per 100,000. Honduras is tops in the world, 58 per 100,000. Considering how many are dying in Juarez it may be safe to assume most of the 10 per 100,000 are drug related. The drug wars might be skewing the numbers. Compare the almost 3000 killed in Juarez in 2009 with the 12 murders across the river in El Paso last year. A fair comparison I think since El Paso is more than 80% Hispanic, almost all of Mexican heritage. Might conclude away from drug related conflict areas Mexico is pretty safe.


raferguson


Jan 9, 2010, 2:22 PM

Post #14 of 48 (13021 views)

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Re: [frito] The Facts Concerning Violent Crimes Committed Against US Tourists in Mexico

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Mexico has had double the homicide rate of the USA, and has for a long time, 20 years or more. This is not prejudice, this is fact.

The UN reports 11 homicides per 100,000 in Mexico, while the USA is 5.5 per 100,000.

http://www.unodc.org/...h-CTS-annotated.html

I would have to do some digging to get recent statistics, but past research has shown that armed robbery in Mexico is much more common than in the USA.

The idea that Mexico is safer than the USA is contradicted by the facts; ultimately it is just wishful thinking. Of course, crime rates vary by locality, and rural Maine has a drastically lower homicide rate than Washington DC. Juarez has a higher homicide rate than most of Mexico, especially rural or small town Mexico. The drug trade or involvement in other criminal behavior obviously greatly increase one's chance of being a homicide victim, no matter what country you are in.

I have been trying to stay out of crime discussions, which tend to drift into name calling or other attacks on one's opponents' character.

Richard


http://www.fergusonsculpture.com


(This post was edited by Rolly on Jan 10, 2010, 3:55 PM)


Reefhound


Jan 9, 2010, 3:26 PM

Post #15 of 48 (13006 views)

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Re: [frito] The Facts Concerning Violent Crimes Committed Against US Tourists in Mexico

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"I'm guessing the average American is just very uninformed and bases his views on assumptions and prejudice. He sees millions coming to the U.S. and assumes Mexico must be a terrible place. He doesn't even realize a large % are from other countries besides Mexico."

Why don't you provide those uninformed Americans the actual demographic breakdown. I think "he" realizes that they come from other Latin American countries but for all practical purposes, it doesn't matter.


"Considering how many are dying in Juarez it may be safe to assume most of the 10 per 100,000 are drug related. The drug wars might be skewing the numbers. Compare the almost 3000 killed in Juarez in 2009 with the 12 murders across the river in El Paso last year. A fair comparison I think since El Paso is more than 80% Hispanic, almost all of Mexican heritage. Might conclude away from drug related conflict areas Mexico is pretty safe."

That might be one conclusion. Another might be that the problem is spreading and not contracting, therefore no telling where will be the next problem spot. Yet another might be that the Mexican authorities are powerless.


arbon

Jan 9, 2010, 4:17 PM

Post #16 of 48 (12989 views)

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Re: [frito] The Facts Concerning Violent Crimes Committed Against US Tourists in Mexico

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"I'm guessing the average American is just very uninformed and bases his views on assumptions and prejudice. He sees millions coming to the U.S. and assumes Mexico must be a terrible place."

If you turn that around when Mexicans see such a high percentage of Canadians in Mexico, they must think Canada has some thing in common with Mexico to like it so much.

But when you talk to Mexicans that have been to Canada or have read about Canada, they say

"Canada is a cold water country"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



frito

Jan 9, 2010, 8:13 PM

Post #17 of 48 (12937 views)

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Re: [Reefhound] The Facts Concerning Violent Crimes Committed Against US Tourists in Mexico

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I've lived in every state bordering Mexico save California and have either lived or done business in states with large illegal alien populations including California, Colorado, Florida, and North Carolina. I've had the privilege over the years to hear hundreds, if not thousands of average Americans express their opinions about illegals and almost all of them refer to illegals as Mexicans. They simply don't realize that there are many countries represented even if the single biggest population is Mexican. I'm assuming that those who read this forum aren't "average" Americans when it comes to knowledge about such issues. I was responding to the statement that English speakers don't like Spanish speakers and trying to convey that Americans who judge everything by a certain yardstick just don't understand what they are seeing when they see illegals doing certain things. Misunderstanding leads to prejudice and fear. Sorry if I didn't convey it well.


Brian

Jan 10, 2010, 5:31 AM

Post #18 of 48 (12889 views)

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Re: [frito] The Facts Concerning Violent Crimes Committed Against US Tourists in Mexico

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After ten years in Mexico, I now live in Austin, Texas but continue to speak Spanish on an almost daily basis given the large Latino population. I shop at Fiesta Market which caters to that demographic group. Despite numerous learning opportunities, I continue to make the mistake of assuming that everyone there who speaks Spanish is Mexican. Although it was not deliberate, I have nevertheless insulted folks from Honduras, Guatamala, and El Salvador by my errors. It is not as bad as assuming that they are all undocumented but I can and should do better.

Brian


(This post was edited by Brian on Jan 10, 2010, 8:26 AM)


frito

Jan 10, 2010, 8:05 AM

Post #19 of 48 (12855 views)

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Re: [Brian] The Facts Concerning Violent Crimes Committed Against US Tourists in Mexico

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But hey, you are trying. Definitely not average!


Brian

Jan 10, 2010, 8:24 AM

Post #20 of 48 (12845 views)

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Re: [frito] The Facts Concerning Violent Crimes Committed Against US Tourists in Mexico

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Yikes! To add insult to injury, I just realized that I even misspelled Guatemala.

Brian


see saw sallie

Jan 10, 2010, 3:39 PM

Post #21 of 48 (12792 views)

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Re: [raferguson] The Facts Concerning Violent Crimes Committed Against US Tourists in Mexico

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Interesting that no one replied to raferguson's post, yet.


mazbook1


Jan 10, 2010, 4:05 PM

Post #22 of 48 (12786 views)

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Re: [see saw sallie] The Facts Concerning Violent Crimes Committed Against US Tourists in Mexico

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sallie, Since there are liars, damn liars and then statistics, it's not worth the trouble to argue about statistics on an Internet forum. EVERYONE can quote some or the other URL to prove their point.


hunteradvisor


Jan 12, 2010, 5:19 AM

Post #23 of 48 (12641 views)

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Re: [Jim Scherrer] The Facts Concerning Violent Crimes Committed Against US Tourists in Mexico

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I think it might be helpful if forum participants shared their own personal experiences regarding crime committed that involved them in Mexico? In the past 4 years we've been robbed 4 times, twice in our home on the coast and twice at our home in Guanajuato City. Three weeks ago our house manager was mugged and roughed up a bit. Two weeks ago our guests left for San Miguel for the day and robbers broke in and stole cell phones and cash. Our gas tanks were stolen a couple of months ago at the same house. My spanish teach in Guanajuato was mugged twice. My friend who was to live in Guanajuato for 2 years with her 4 children was attacked walking back from the language school, she moved back to the states. This has not deterred us from living here, we just take precautions like adding extra security to our house, not traveling at night, carrying mace and not much money.
Isabel
www.RanchoSolyMar.com


Jim Scherrer


Jan 12, 2010, 5:35 AM

Post #24 of 48 (12640 views)

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Re: [hunteradvisor] The Facts Concerning Violent Crimes Committed Against US Tourists in Mexico

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This thread has nothing to do with petty crimes committed in Mexico; it pertains to violent crimes perpetrated on American tourists resulting in non-natural deaths (homicides).

YouŽll notice that the author of the original article is from Canada. One must ask, "Why isnŽt he looking our for the best interest of his fellow countrymen?". The answer is that he represents many Canadian enterprises that depend on American tourism and as such, he is attempting to direct some of the 20 million Americans that visit Mexico annually to Canada.


bronco

Mar 16, 2012, 12:57 PM

Post #25 of 48 (6656 views)

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Re: [hunteradvisor] The Facts Concerning Violent Crimes Committed Against US Tourists in Mexico

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interesting thread. i do not see an update for 2011 & 2012. (except for the guad drug war blockade, which is ok now). yes we need to take precautions. i sympathize with those who have been victims. i myself have not had trouble.
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