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gpkgto

Apr 3, 2010, 8:16 AM

Post #1 of 26 (10223 views)

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How Safe is Mexico?

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AOL news article--seems pretty accurate IMO. http://news.travel.aol.com/.../how-safe-is-mexico/



La Isla


Apr 3, 2010, 8:59 AM

Post #2 of 26 (10193 views)

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Re: [gpkgto] How Safe is Mexico?

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I especially like this line from the article:

Quote


No one thinks twice about visiting our nation's capital, and the same should go for Mexico's capital.


That's what I´ll tell any of my friends who's hesitating about coming down for a visit.


ken_in_dfw

Apr 3, 2010, 9:18 AM

Post #3 of 26 (10182 views)

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Re: [gpkgto] How Safe is Mexico?

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I agree - it's a pretty accurate article - and it has some helpful information for sorting out the fact from the fiction. We need more of this level-headed information in the foreign (to México) press.

But I also agree with one of the commenters ( "but disappointed in the integrity of the Mexican police forces" ) that the problem for travelers isn't so much the one-in-a-bazillion chance that you'll get caught in the middle of a narco balacera, as it is that you'll run into some bad apples in the local policía barrel.

I know that there are plenty of ethical cops doing their best in spite of low wages and tremendous pressures - but it only takes a couple of bad actors to spoil the barrel.






Brian

Apr 3, 2010, 1:46 PM

Post #4 of 26 (10118 views)

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Re: [ken_in_dfw] How Safe is Mexico?

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 Unfortunately, the warnings listed in the article include some things that have always made Mexico distinguished from the US and other countries in terms of what folks could feel safe doing. I am sure some people will tout this as being a positive article about tourism in Mexico but, although well-intended, it actually gives some bad advice. Single travelers to and residents of SMA would miss a lot if they stuck to this advice:

"There are, of course, caveats about travel in Mexico, just as there are for visits to any foreign city or resort area, but many of these fall under the realm of common sense: Don't stray from the well-known tourist areas, stay alert and don't drink too much, avoid walking alone at night, only take public transportation or drive on the highways during daylight, don't deck yourself out in expensive jewelry and avoid large crowds and demonstrations"

In terms of San Miguel, should folks not stray outside Centro, not walk alone at night, avoid activities such as evening symphonies in Queretaro, and most significantly avoid the Locos parade and the large gatherings at the Fiestas Patrias such as the Grito? No, I think those standard warnings sound good until one considers how they would actually be applied in real life situations. Might as well stay home in Podunk or wherever.


richmx2


Apr 4, 2010, 12:43 AM

Post #5 of 26 (10027 views)

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Re: [La Isla] How Safe is Mexico?

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A lot of the article was still more scare-mongering than it needed to be. The Mexico City taxi warnings are about 15 years out of date (there was a number of taxi robberies, that were played up by Televisa when the Federal District first elected an opposition leadership, but it was never as serious, nor widespread as it seemed) and just about anywhere in Mexico one can go off the beaten path with no fears whatsoever. C'mon this isn't Jamaica where they have to lock the tourists into compounds at night, or Dallas, where the locals lock themselves in at night.


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Manuel Dexterity

Apr 4, 2010, 9:05 AM

Post #6 of 26 (9954 views)

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Re: [ken_in_dfw] How Safe is Mexico?

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I know that there are plenty of ethical cops doing their best in spite of low wages and tremendous pressures - but it only takes a couple of bad actors to spoil the barrel.


Your naivete is showing. Honest Mexican cop is an oxymoron. You are willing to go along with the system or you are not a cop for very long. A simple choice.


ken_in_dfw

Apr 4, 2010, 9:06 AM

Post #7 of 26 (9953 views)

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Re: [richmx2] How Safe is Mexico?

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... just about anywhere in Mexico one can go off the beaten path with no fears whatsoever. C'mon this isn't Jamaica where they have to lock the tourists into compounds at night, or Dallas, where the locals lock themselves in at night.


[shakes head in amazement]

Richard, respectfully, you've spent so much time trying to make México into some sort of mythical, magical Paradise that it ain't, you've lost your perspective.

All I can say is, the article linked by the OP is about as good as it's going to get for now coming from the foreign press. If you're waiting for the New York Times or the Guardian or CNN to start blowing trumpets about the peaceful Mexican nation and sounding like propaganda vehicles for FONATUR, you're going to be turning blue pretty soon.

And FWIW, I'm sorry I couldn't respond sooner - I was too busy enjoying a peaceful Spring night walk with my dogs here in Dallas.


ken_in_dfw

Apr 4, 2010, 9:18 AM

Post #8 of 26 (9944 views)

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Re: [Manuel Dexterity] How Safe is Mexico?

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Yeah, OK, I'll accept that my wording was imprecise. What I was trying to express was that there is a level of corruption in the system that is (or should be) unacceptable to both residents and tourists alike.

A cop who takes some trade from the local abarrotero in exchange for keeping an eye on things? Yeah, that's noise in the system.

OTOH, a cop who does express kidnappings, holding his subjects at gunpoint for hours, while siphoning every last peso from their accounts? That's a different point and I don't accept that all cops operate at that level.


skier14

Apr 4, 2010, 9:26 AM

Post #9 of 26 (9942 views)

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Re: [ken_in_dfw] How Safe is Mexico?

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I have friends who just returned from their family rancho just outside of the town of RIO VERDE in the state of San Luis Potosi and they said that Zetas activity has created a nighttime curfew in RIO VERDE. Nobody out at night.


Reefhound


Apr 4, 2010, 11:26 AM

Post #10 of 26 (9891 views)

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Re: [skier14] How Safe is Mexico?

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B-b-but, that's nowhere near the border zone! I though cartel activity was only in the border zone!

Seriously, that IS disappointing and maybe it was lucky that I bypassed spending a weekend in Rio Verde last month, when we've been stopping there for years on the way home.


Zorba

Apr 4, 2010, 12:18 PM

Post #11 of 26 (9862 views)

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Re: [Reefhound] How Safe is Mexico?

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http://rippol.com/...ne-nbc/?g=3&t=16

Riveting kidnapping video stories. Is anyone familiar with the San Miguel de Allende one?


skier14

Apr 4, 2010, 12:35 PM

Post #12 of 26 (9843 views)

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Re: [Reefhound] How Safe is Mexico?

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But, RIO VERDI is not to far from Tampico and I believe I have read of Zetas activity there.


richmx2


Apr 4, 2010, 12:52 PM

Post #13 of 26 (9841 views)

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Re: [ken_in_dfw] How Safe is Mexico?

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Ken... I am hardly one to claim "Mexico is Paradise" -- I've sniped enough at those who make this claim (usually meaning they can indulge the wasteful and selfish behavior they want because of their "gringo-tude" and relative wealth, and are shocked, shocked I tell you! to discover that stupidity has consequences). What I do say is that one doesn't have to go about in fear -- and that some of the reportage seems based on old urban legends still circulating.

If one takes a wrong turn on the highway, or gets off the bus in a "bad neighborhood", the chances of something untoward happening are slim to none. Other than once running across a pack of semi-feral dogs in a small town and having a crazy junkie toss rocks at me (near my own Metro stop in DF, which was in a zona de tolerancia) I haven't run into anyone looking to harm me. Quite the opposite. People notice strangers and will steer them away, or in the right direction (and sometimes go out of their way to get them back on track) more than the opposite.

Would I go traipsing off through someone's marijuana patch out in the Sierras or walk into a swamp full of caimans? No... but then how many people are in a position to be in those situations in the normal course of things, or on a vacation?


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gpkgto

Apr 4, 2010, 1:07 PM

Post #14 of 26 (9828 views)

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Re: [richmx2] How Safe is Mexico?

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A Mexican friend was "express kidnapped" in a DF taxi just a few years ago. My DF friends all say that there are certain taxis you do not use.


gpkgto

Apr 4, 2010, 1:09 PM

Post #15 of 26 (9825 views)

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Re: [Manuel Dexterity] How Safe is Mexico?

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I have never been "asked" for a modida anywhere in the state of Guanajuato. I think the cops here are honest--at least with foreigners.


La Isla


Apr 4, 2010, 2:20 PM

Post #16 of 26 (9795 views)

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Re: [gpkgto] How Safe is Mexico?

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A Mexican friend was "express kidnapped" in a DF taxi just a few years ago. My DF friends all say that there are certain taxis you do not use.


Some years ago in Mexico City, it was advisable not to get a taxi in the street, but these days I don't think it's a problem any more. I don´t take taxis very often, but when I do (unless I'm going to the airport), I just haul any one that comes by. Before getting in, though, I make sure that it has a meter and that the taxista has some idea of how to get where I'm going. No problems in several years, and, in fact, I find the drivers very helpful and even protective of me, especially if they have to let me off in a less than lovely neighborhood. Just my experience, of course, and I know that express kidnappings still take place, but I'm not going to let that fact keep me from getting around and living my life.


Manuel Dexterity

Apr 4, 2010, 2:24 PM

Post #17 of 26 (9794 views)

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Re: [gpkgto] How Safe is Mexico?

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I have never been "asked" for a modida anywhere in the state of Guanajuato. I think the cops here are honest--at least with foreigners.


Talk to truck drivers in Guanajuato and you'll hear plenty of stories. But demanding or "asking" for or accepting a mordida is not the only form of corruption. And those types of shakedowns are typically limilted to transitos and traffic violations.

There are many other and even more sinister forms. Systemic corruption of police forces here has been around forever. But now with the enormous amounts of money from the illegal drug trade it has gone far beyond past levels. It surpasses even the notorious years such as the Negro Durazo era when the PRI controlled everything.


richmx2


Apr 4, 2010, 2:51 PM

Post #18 of 26 (9788 views)

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Re: [gpkgto] How Safe is Mexico?

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You're making my point. A MEXICAN friend was express kidnapped A FEW YEARS AGO. I know people (including foreigners) who were "express kidnapped" too. So what? I've never heard a reliable story of this happening to a tourist, a retiree or anyone who wasn't in a business that brought them into contact with disreputable types with odd ideas of debt collection. Or, in one incident I know, was stiffing his employees (who technically "express kidnapped" him, though I'd call it a direct job action).

It's like talking about shakedowns of truck drivers in Guanajuato, or . Yeah, such things happen, but given that the original post (and those who comment here) are by and for people NOT doing business now or a "a few years ago" with shady debt collectors, nor truck drivers in Guanajuato, those are irrelevant concerns.


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Moisheh

Apr 5, 2010, 5:50 AM

Post #19 of 26 (9634 views)

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Re: [richmx2] How Safe is Mexico?

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I dont think I have ver seen so many posters who have their heads in the sand. Those standard answers ( tourists dont have problems, stay out of bad areas, dont drive at night, etc.) were once very tue. But all that is history. Tourists have been involved. Road blocks of major highways with grenade and auto weapon attacks are becoming almost common. Highway 15 from Guaymas south has had many incidents. The cartels and other wannabee criminals are out to show the Gov. that they are in charge. I believe them. The list of "bad"places has become so large it would be easier to list the safe places. Some of you need to get out of the Lake area and see what is happening elsewhere in Mexico.

Moisheh


Brian

Apr 5, 2010, 6:18 AM

Post #20 of 26 (9623 views)

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Re: [Moisheh] How Safe is Mexico?

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This article contains an assertion that Mexico today, in relative terms, is safer from violent crime than it was 10 years ago. I was living in Tijuana ten years ago and then moved to San Miguel de Allende in the year 2002. From my experience, in both cities, this statement is simply untrue and, I think, is solely motivated by a desire to improve Mexico's failing international image. The image of Mexico will improve when the actual problem is eradicated and not by obfuscation of the true facts.

http://www.statesman.com/...s-asylum-522710.html


(This post was edited by Rolly on Apr 5, 2010, 7:49 AM)


Reefhound


Apr 5, 2010, 7:53 AM

Post #21 of 26 (9597 views)

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Re: [Brian] How Safe is Mexico?

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I don't believe statistics when the entity issuing them has a vested interest. For one thing, stats can be manipulated and even falsified. For another, it seems that only a small percentage of Mexican crime actually gets reported.

That's not unique to Mexico. I think even U.S. crime stats underestimate the problem as I know crime often goes unreported in the poorer sectors of society but the futility and fear of making a police report seems to extend across the whole spectrum of society in Mexico.


Jasse

Apr 9, 2010, 4:34 AM

Post #22 of 26 (9298 views)

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Re: [Brian] How Safe is Mexico?

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This article contains an assertion that Mexico today, in relative terms, is safer from violent crime than it was 10 years ago. I was living in Tijuana ten years ago and then moved to San Miguel de Allende in the year 2002. From my experience, in both cities, this statement is simply untrue and, I think, is solely motivated by a desire to improve Mexico's failing international image. The image of Mexico will improve when the actual problem is eradicated and not by obfuscation of the true facts.

http://www.statesman.com/...s-asylum-522710.html


Nice article friend! And i agree with you that everyone should solely motivated by a desire to improve Mexico's failing international image..
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(This post was edited by Jasse on Apr 9, 2010, 4:34 AM)


Hound Dog

Apr 9, 2010, 5:41 AM

Post #23 of 26 (9281 views)

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Re: [Jasse] How Safe is Mexico?

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Dawg has to weigh in on this subject and forgive me if I once again state that we live in the communities of Ajijic, Jalisco whiich has a large foreign colony of retirees and San Cristóbal De Las Casas, Chiapas where most of the foreigners are Guatemaltecos.You remember San Cristóbal and the 1994 EZLN uprising and the highly irritated indigenous communities surrounding that burg in contrast with Ajijic and its privileged community of smug foreigners many of whom live in gated faux colonial enclaves up the hills and only go into town to buy U.S. manufactured peanut butter.

I´ll keep this short. We own homes in both of these diverse communities neither of which has been significantly impacted by the current drug war and we feel much safer in San Cristobal than in Ajijic and the reason is that San Cristóbal is almost all Mexican and by that I mean mestizo and indigenous and they have a much stronger sense of community and distrust of the local police forces than do the foreigners living in Ajijic. In San Cristóbal they know they are on their own and, thus, look out for each other whereas all those Americans living in Ajijic think they are still in Peoria.

No moral lesson there; simply an observation.


Brian

Apr 15, 2010, 5:16 AM

Post #24 of 26 (9059 views)

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Re: [gpkgto] How Safe is Mexico?

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This article, based upon interviews with Mexicans rather than expats or tourists presents a counterpoint as to the perceived safety of living in the country. While folks living near the border reflect the highest level of feelings of insecurity, areas such as the Bajiio, far from the border, also are affected. The majority feel less safe than they did one year ago. A positive point in the survey is that it is apparently more difficult to purchase street drugs do to the government's interdiction efforts. Residents of the northern parts of the country believe that the crime rate is under-reported in the press whereas those in the central and southern regions feel that it may be exaggerated. Willingness to report crimes is still a problem with the majority 72% believing that it is dangerous to interact with the police.

http://www.diario.com.mx/...ec8f19ea3fae8b73bbec

Brian


(This post was edited by Rolly on Apr 15, 2010, 7:00 AM)


richmx2


Apr 15, 2010, 10:57 AM

Post #25 of 26 (8985 views)

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Re: [Brian] How Safe is Mexico?

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PERCEPTION of crime may be different than some objective criteria of crime. That is, the numbers could be dropping (which seems to be true, and would be expected with a changing demographic) AND worries could be increasing. There's some politics playing into all this, too. "Law-n-order" was a major issue in the last presidential campaign. The main opposition candidate came from a social work background, and offered a different solution than the putative winner, whose legitimacy depends heavily on justification of his solutions. Either way, there's a vested interest in creating the perception of a problem in need of a solution.

Who knows... maybe more cops mean more crime (or at least more perception of it... if you start seeing more cops, you think there's a reason). And, the economy in the dumper, you'd expect more crime anyway.


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