We routinely hear that question or simply questions about whether we’re safe down here in Mexico. It’s a fair question to ask.
Interestingly, there is a website by that same title. Here are a couple of good links to answer that question in general terms and with some specific details too which help gauge the relatives risks of being here in Mexico. The key is there are some places much more dangerous than others and as with most places in the world, time of day is one of many variable factors relating to safety.
(clicking either will open in a new tab)
See this quote from the bottom link above (note that we live in the state of Querétaro):
Our first five safe places to visit come from the San Francisco Chronicle’s Five Safest Places in Mexico. At only 1.1 deaths per 100,000, the agricultural state of Tlaxcala is rated as Mexico’s safest state followed by the Yucatán at 1.3 that has a well-developed tourist infrastructure and thousands of archaeological sites.
Up next is Puebla at 1.85 with 2,600 historic buildings, a wealth of archaeological sites, and virtually nonstop festivals originating in five distinct pre-hispanic cultures ahead of the small state of Querétaro with just 2.02 deaths per 100,000. Best-known for its role in ending Spanish rule, the state also claims three of Mexico’s major wineries and maintains a Cheese and Wine Museum.
For comparison, most cities in the USA have a murder rate higher than the rate for our state of Querétaro. Chicago stands at 16.1 homicides per 100,000 and Miami at 14.1 per 100,000. See the quote below from a Washington Post Lifestyle Travel Guide:
Of 2,500 municipalities (what we call counties), only 80, or fewer than 5 percent, have been affected by the drug war, which accounts for only 3 percent of all crime. Mexican cities are also safer than some urban centers north of the border: Mexico City, for example, has 8.3 homicides a year per 100,000 people. That’s fewer than Miami (14.1) and Chicago (16.1). On a global scale, Mexico is safer than many of its neighbors. In 2008, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reported Mexico’s homicide rate as 11.6 per 100,000, significantly lower than Honduras (60.9), Jamaica (59.5) or El Salvador (51.8). Without a solid understanding of the geography (761,606 square miles) and the nature of the drug wars (internecine fighting), many foreigners assume that all of Mexico is a war zone. But it isn’t.
While you may be reading current headlines in the USA about renewed or new travel advisories to Mexico by the U.S. government, there really hasn’t been a new wave of violence affecting areas that have been considered relatively safe for all these past few years of the drug war. That’s not to say the advisories aren’t legitimate, but there is no real new reason behind them. The U.S. government simply wants to be sure that spring break students and their families are aware that Mexico is still a place that can be dangerous and in certain areas, most certainly is dangerous.
According to this article, “Spring Break Travel Warning: Mounting Drug Violence in Mexico,” 120 Americans were killed in Mexico by violence in 2011. The blog above mentioned that through October 2011, 4.7 million Americans had traveled to Mexico. Since we don’t have an entire year’s figure to work with, we can still make a reliable estimate that 2.1 per 100,000 American visitors to Mexico last year didn’t make it out alive. In other words, you were over 7 times more likely to survive a visit to Mexico than you were a visit to Chicago. Scary huh? Not really.
Be informed, be careful, know where you’re going, what you’re getting into and to be honest, you’re as much in God’s hands in Mexico as in Chicago or anywhere else.
Ultimately, we don’t obey the Great Commission because it is safe to carry out, but because of the Savior who commanded it and who promised that “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Grace and peace to you.