Tag Archives: crime

Are You Safer in Mexico or America?

Should I travel to Mexico?  Is it safe?  What about Oaxaca?  Robert Reid, Lonely Planet’s US travel editor wrote a blog post on May 10, 2012 about safety in Mexico, offering six reasons why Mexico is safe.  The headline is Are You Safer in Mexico or America?  The Huffington Post picked it up and published it and our follower, Bruce Anderson sent the story my way.  Thanks, Bruce!

I’m going to start with Reid’s last two points, which are specific to Oaxaca.  I am constantly writing about safety here because one of the biggest myths circulating is that travel to Mexico is not safe and safety is one of the most popular search terms on my blog.  I am on a mission.  It is my number one pet peeve.  The traveling public needs to know that most tourist destinations in Mexico — and especially Oaxaca — are safe.

Help me spread the word by forwarding this to one friend who is skeptical! Here’s what Reid says . . .

5. Malia Obama ignored the Texas advice.

Of all people, President Obama and first lady said “OK” to their 13-year-old daughter’s spring break destination this year: Oaxaca. Then Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum made snide remarks over that, perhaps overlooking that Oaxaca state has a smaller body count from the drug war than his home state’s murder rate (Oaxaca’s 4.39 per 100,000 to Pennsylvania’s 5.2).

Oaxaca state, not on the US travel warning, is famed for its colonial city, Zapotec ruins and emerging beach destinations like Huatulco. Lonely Planet author Greg Benchwick even tried grasshoppers with the local mezcal (Malia apparently stuck with vanilla shakes.)

So, can you go to Mexico?

Yes. As the US State Department says, “millions of US citizens safely visit Mexico each year.” Last year, when I took on the subject for CNN, one commenter suggested Lonely Planet was being paid to promote travel there. No we weren’t. We took on the subject simply because – as travelers so often know – there is another story beyond the perception back home, be it Vietnam welcoming Americans in the ’90s or Colombia’s dramatic safety improvements in the ’00s. And, equally as importantly, Mexico makes for some of the world’s greatest travel experiences – it’s honestly why I’m in this line of work.

So yes, you can go to Mexico, just as you can go to Texas, or New Orleans, or Orlando, or the Bahamas. It’s simply up to you to decide whether you want to.

Robert Reid is Lonely Planet’s US Travel Editor and has been going to Mexico since he was three (most recently to Chacala).

Perception vs. Reality: U.S. Ranks #7 in Gun Violence; Mexico Ranks #17

Is it safe to travel to Mexico?  Is it safe to travel to Oaxaca?  Is it safe to fly to Mexico City and change planes for Oaxaca there?

Here’s a web site you should know about:  NationMaster sent to me by my friend Sheri Brautigam, an expat who lives in Oaxaca.

It is a massive central data source and a handy way to graphically compare nations. NationMaster is a vast compilation of data from such sources as the CIA World Factbook, UN, and OECD.

I used their form to search using these terms:  crime, gun violence, homicides. What was generated was a map, graph, and pie charts of rankings by country. I was surprised to see that the U.S. outranks Mexico in the use of firearms that resulted in deaths.  If we are to believe the media, our friends and family, it would be a different story.

But statistics don’t lie.   That’s why you should keep and use this site to find out other factoids about life as we think we know it.

This coming Wednesday morning I will climb aboard a regional jet from RDU to JFK.  Six hours later I will land in Mexico City and board another regional jet for Oaxaca.  I am traveling alone.  I will negotiate the NYC airport solo and make my way through the new international terminal at the Benito Juarez International Airport in Mexico City by myself.  The airport in Mexico City is like many other new, clean and vibrant airports across the U.S., filled with restaurants, shops, and helpful staff.  It is a shopping and eating adventure, so if you have a layover it can be a lot of fun.

A recent Seattle Times article noted, “Mexico’s Ministry of Tourism said the number of foreign visitors in 2010 exceeded the approximately 22 million travelers who arrived in 2008 — before the outbreak of swine flu in April 2009 left resorts empty for much of the rest of the year.

The U.S. Commerce Department said visits to Mexico by US residents rose 8 percent during the first six months of 2010 — a period that includes spring break months — compared to the same time period in 2009.

Much of that has been attributable to the favorable exchange rate and cheaper package deals at Mexican resorts, Travel Leaders spokeswoman Kathy Gerhardt said.”