Mexican society is extreme. The wealthy are incredibly wealthy (maids, multiple homes, cars, etc.) and then there are many areas where people are not doing as well. In reality this wealth gap reflects life in most countries around the world.

For this reason, we should appreciate all that we have in the United States, Canada and Europe. Aristotle says,”Poverty is the mother of revolution and crime.”

The truth is my state, Colima, has poverty and crime. Two governors have been assassinated and an attempt was recently made on one other. We are experiencing a sharp uptick in crime (similar to my hometown Chicago).

Beyond the scary headlines, there is a truth. 


Just as it is important to realize that folks living on the perimeters of the two of the most violent neighborhoods in Chicago are not likely to experience gun violence. Similarly, the vast majority of Mexicans are unaffiliated with the narco trade and will not experience violence.

Consider this, Mexicans are more likely to experience a nasty car accident than violent crime.

It’s Where You Go and What You Do.
Prostitutes in Mexico City

Now if you decide to gamble in the casinos; get shitfaced drunk and go to the strip clubs – you pays your money and you takes your chances. Yes it’s true, drugs can be accessed here like in any country. If you buy marijuana or cocaine or employ prostitutes – it’s a very big risk.

The US federal government suggests Americans avoid casinos and strip clubs. Last year a family member recounted a shootout in one of the local casinos…so, I think it’s a good suggestion. I try not to judge other human beings; the older I am; the more recalcitrant and nervous I have become.

Most expatriates do not experience crime.

Nonetheless, if you accidentally leave your smart device or purse on a table – forget about it – it’s gone. It’s also the same in London, Paris, and Rome.

Two years ago a priest friend recounted how two fellow Jesuit priests had luggage stolen inside the Rome airport. Two priests! Dios Mio.

There are tons of sensational stories about decapitations and rotting corpses.

Please be careful of random media. If you glean news on Google or translate articles from random Mexican newspapers you will run the other way.

Headlines from El Grafico

Consume and read foreign news within an appropriate context. The Mexican press (just like the American press) loves sensationalism. The old fashion newsstand survives in Mexico. A quick scan of tabloid headlines will shock you. The bloodier the better. In between the porno mags and lottery ticket numbers are graphic photos of decapitations

I almost fainted. My first inclination was to panic and suspect everyone.

All of this sensationalism reminds me of the old Page Three Girls in the British tabloids – scantily-clad women with a few paragraphs of “news” tossed in for good measure. Surprisingly, I have become very accustomed to shocking photos. The Mexican press is like other foreign press. I must remember its news is produced within a different frame and context. It is incorrect to read and absorb information through the prism of American journalism. If you do; you do yourself a disservice.

Also remember, our fourth estate has issues.

Your approach to crime should be the same as it would be in the US.

Without question, there are neighborhoods/areas of deep poverty that you should avoid if you are alone, anxious, elderly or frail.

That’s it! Do not buy into stereotypes. People are rich and diverse. A smile always helps.