This is by far one of the most commonly asked questions by those who do not live here, and is by far one of the most commonly asked questions by those who fall flat on their face into media hypes.
First of all, Mexico takes away millions of dollars in American tourism each year. Instead of vacationing in the homeland, folks head south of the border to spend their money, much to the dismay of travel agencies, airlines, hotels and other tourist-related trades.
What does this have to do with safety, you ask? Let me tell you.
Instead of paying attention to the overall hype of just how crappy and unsafe Mexico — all of Mexico — is, pay attention to the timing. Hyped stories are often published around key times of the year, such as major vacation dates and summer holidays and generalize the location, referring to Mexico as though it were a city, not a entire country.
Look at the summer holiday season of 2017. How often did you read a story or reference about bad alcohol in Mexico hotels when they were actually referring to a single hotel in Cancun/Riviera Maya — media hype!
Is Mexico safe? Not everywhere, no. Neither is it safe to live in all parts of the US or Canada or the Middle East or Asia. Even living in London is proving to be a bit scary these days. Is Playa del Carmen safe? It’s as safe as any other place.
As a single woman, I’ve lived here on my own for nearly a decade and have never had a problem — not ONE! Aside from the odd shitty-mood taxi driver (they tend to drive careless when mad) and the lack of seat belts in the combis, I have nothing bad to say about the safety aspect of this region.
In fairness, I cannot speak for all of Mexico because I’ve never lived in all of Mexico, but what I can tell you with 100 percent accuracy is if you don’t walk on the tracks, you won’t get hit by the train. Can’t read between the lines? If you don’t hang around drug dealers and gun runners, you probably don’t have much to worry about.
If you are into the media hype, read your stories more carefully. It’s not tourists that are being picked off by a crazy gun-wielding person who’s set up on a rooftop somewhere randomly shooting innocent people. These are local “bad guys” being shot by other local “bad guys”. The exact same concept that occurs in the United States. Gangs, guns, drugs, violence.
Look, I’m not one for drama or media hypes. The concept of sensationalizing truly does make my head spin. The fact is Cancun and Playa del Carmen have problems with “bad guys” just like every corner of the world does that has a human existence. Where can you live where zero problems exist? Find yourself a place where zero humans exist.
It both surprises and frustrates me how many people refuse to see the high levels of violent crime in their own country, but won’t blink an eye when it comes to pointing out the flaws of other countries like Mexico.
Let me say this. One reason I wanted to leave my Canadian city was because of the increase of violent crime by the Asian gangs. At the time, I worked and played in my city’s center, a practice that was becoming more and more unsafe, especially for single women.
Since moving to Mexico, I live my life here just as I did there. I didn’t hang around bad guys in Canada and I don’t hang around bad guys here in Mexico. I don’t stroll dark alleys at night, start fights, get drunk and wander off with the stranger from the bar stool over, nor do I walk around in broad daylight being an asshole kicking puppies and pushing old people into traffic.
This isn’t rocket science people.
Bad guys, broad daylight assholes, drug dealers, rapists, alley muggers…they live everywhere, not just in Mexico. A key to success in life is exercising good common sense. I understand not everyone possess common sense or good judgment (I’ve met my fair share of them), so these folks end up being the statistics, the headline story, the media hype that others (who like drama and hype) feed from.
It’s unfortunate when a good person is in the wrong place at the wrong time, but it happens. It’s happened to us all, however, those are generally isolated incidences that end up being used as media examples in our very unfair and over-exploited world.
I smirk when I hear / read / come across conversations about the safety aspect of Mexico being so bad — again, as though Mexico is a city. That’s insane. Yes, there are problems. Yes, there are gun runners and murders and drugs, but they are being run into other countries because there’s a demand.
If people would stop buying them the “bad guys” would simply be run out of business. But as long as people continue to buy, the demand is there and so are the people willing to fill it.
So, going back to safety. Look, this world is pretty surreal these days with the amount and types of violence being carried out in every corner of the globe. Cars and trucks running into crowds. School shootings. Mall shootings. Club and pub shootings. Public bombs in cafes, concerts and on public transportation. It’s everywhere! If you believe what you read and don’t feel safe traveling to Mexico, then stay home.
If you really want to point a finger, that’s your prerogative, but just remember this: for every finger you point forward, there are three pointing back at you.