Relative Safety

What’s the chance that a bull could jump out of a bullring into the stands? It can happen, but it’s very unlikely.

Most of my relatives are afraid to visit me in Mexico. The steady drumbeat in the US media about the narco violence has distorted Americans’ perceptions of the situation in Mexico. It sounds really scary!

I’ve tried explaining that, just like in the States, some areas in Mexico are very dangerous but the majority are safe. That didn’t work. But now I have some statistics.

Last week, in The Huffington Post, there was an article about the safety of Mexican travel. The article provided statistics for travel destinations using the murder rate per 100,000 people in various countries cities and states. To make things easier, just remember the numbers I’m talking about are per 100,000 people.

The countrywide numbers are the drivers of the warnings for US travelers: 18 for Mexico and 4.8 for the US. Sounds pretty bad.

But what about some alternative countries to visit Americans feel safe in: 36 for the Bahamas, 42 for Belize, or 52 for Jamaica (Hay Mon!).

For an American, the chances of encountering violence in Mexico are often less than the chances in parts of the States. The number for a US citizen in Mexico is only 2.1! And that number would be even lower if  we could somehow remove the numbers for US citizens who engaged in criminal activities in Mexico.

Going for a more granular comparison, we can look at some cities. Going to Disneyland? Orlando, FL is at 7.5. Houston is at 6.8, and New Orleans is lapping those two while Cancun is at 1.8 and Puerto Vallarta is at 5.9.

This year, the US president even let his daughter go to the Southern Mexican state of Oaxaca for her spring break where the number is 4.4 (the US state of Pennsylvania is at 5.2).

If you avoid the trouble spots in Mexico (and the US) you can have “safe travels.”