Mexico Realty News

September 5, 2010

Safety: Part III - Homicide Rates, US City Comparison

Is a visit to Mexico more or less safe than visiting select US cities?


  • Visiting a Congressman in the US Capital (Washington, D.C.)
  • Going to the Mardi Gras celebration (New Orleans) or
  • Attending a Major League Baseball game in any of the following US cities (Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Houston or Oakland)?

Yes, it is safer visiting Mexico than visiting all of these US cities. See fully documented answers below:

1. Homicide Rates (Select US cities)* per 100,000 population comparing 2000 to 2005:

2000 --------2005 US CITY (POPULATION)

41.7 ---------31.4 Washington D.C. (590,000)
42.2----------29.5 New Orleans (460,000)
21.7----------15.5 Chicago (2,870,000)
20.6----------17.4 Dallas (1,150,000)
41.6----------41.4 Detroit (900,000)
12.0----------17.0 Houston (2,000,000)
20.0----------23.3 Oakland (400,000)

For 2005, The homicide rate for each of these US cities exceeds the country rates for Mexico (11), the US (5.6) and Canada (2.0)**.

These cities were selected to make a point - many US cities with popular visitor attractions have high homicide rates and may be considered unsafe. Of course, there is a wide range of cities (and city neighborhoods) with homicide rates higher or lower than the cities selected, whether in the US, Canada or Mexico.

2. Homicide Rates (Mexican States)** per 100,000 population (where non-border tourist and retirement areas are located) comparing 2000 to 2005:


7---------------6 Jalisco (6,752,000) Puerto Vallarta and Lake Chapala
13-------------10 Nayarit (949,000) Riviera Nayarit
27-------------11 Quinta Roo (1,135,000) Cancun
7---------------7 Baja Sur (512,000) Los Cabos
6---------------4 Guanajuato (4,893,000) San Miguel de Allende

For 2005, homicide rates for all select US cities easily exceeded (by a margin of .5 - 10 times) the rates for Mexican states with non-border tourist and retirement areas.

With few exceptions, published homicide rates are not available for individual cities in Mexico preventing a direct US city to Mexican city comparison. However, Mexican governmental officials (and the US State Department - see Part II of this series) state homicides are extremely low in Mexico's non-border tourist and retirement locations.

3. Conclusion. Visitors to non-border tourist and retirement areas in any of the these Mexican states are safer than visitors to any of these US cities highlighted above.

For example, a visit to Puerto Vallarta (assuming it's homicide rate is no higher than the state of Jalisco) is at least:
  • 5 times safer than visiting the US capital
  • 5 times safer than going to Mardi Gras festivities in New Orleans
  • 2 1/2 - 5 times safer than visiting cities where 20% (6/30) of the US Major League Baseball Parks are located.

Does this mean you shouldn't travel to and enjoy the many pleasures in these US cities? Not at all. However, common sense and caution should be used to insure safety when traveling away from home (within your own country or in a foreign country) and areas of known criminal activity should be avoided.

Live well.


Costa Riviera is a boutique real estate firm specializing in beach homes in Puerto Vallarta and on the Riviera Nayarit.

Bookmark and visit weekly for new postings. We bring you important facts from credible sources for use when acquiring property and living in Mexico. Let us know your questions and comments.
*Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, FBI, 2005.
** Wikipedia, crime rate, homicides by country, 2005.
***Sistema Nacional de Securidad Publica y CONAPO, 2005

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