Dec 19th, 2012
By Lani Waller
Two years ago, my wife and I bought a home in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico as part of our retirement plans. San Miguel is a central colonial Mexican town of approximately 80,000 inhabitants. This includes an American population of approximately 6,000 year around residents, and a Canadian population of around two thousand residents.
The bottom line: my wife and I, and the American and Canadian citizens living in San Miguel- and in other “Mexican/American” communities- feel as safe as we do in the U.S. and we feel safe traveling through Mexico, and fishing there. Almost all Mexicans like and respect Americans, and are polite and helpful to American travelers and tourists.
Unfortunately, U.S. news casts and headlines about violent crime in Mexico do not always tell this kind of story, and need to be explained and put in context. The violence reported on the US news stations is not specifically aimed at innocent Americans, or any innocent foreigners, or tourists. This is a struggle between warring drug cartels, or “families” who are fighting one another. They are not after anglers, or tourists.
Secondly, if you compare US homicide rates with those in Mexico, you may be surprised to learn that numerically, at least, they are not that different. The major difference lay in the status of the victims. Almost all of the US deaths were innocent bystanders exposed to random serial killings, robberies and individual homicides. In contrast almost all of the Mexican fatalities were members of criminal drug cartels.
It’s too bad that the U.S. news reports do not make these essential distinctions, and the truth is, if you are not a part of the “drug world,” and if you are not walking half drunk down some dark city street at night, or wandering around by yourself somewhere “off the beaten path,” you are in no more danger in Mexico than you are in the U.S.
None of us live in a perfect world. Crime is where you find it and it is real. Travel wisely, and with prudent and reasonable caution in Mexico. Stay on the normal paths and act responsibly. The fishing is good and so are almost all the people you will encounter.