Is Mexico safer than the US? (video)

Originally published at: Is Mexico safer than the US? (video) | Boing Boing


Survey says: Canada has em both beat by a country kilometer.

Maple Leaf Art GIF


How’s the mole pablano?


Delicious with a side of poutine and Kraft Dinner.


Chicago is not even in the top 30!

The top murder rate city in 2022 is St Louis MO which blew past Gary IN this year and took the crown from East St Louis IL


I would have thought kidnapping would be the crime of most interest here.


Guadalajara is a country club compared to many other places in Mexico, like Guanajuato, Chihuahua, and Jalisco to name a couple. Tijuana is a veritable minefield. That being said, I have travel to TJ regularly over the past 20 years and have had one issue where a waiter tried to charge me for a breakfast coffee I didn’t order. I also never had any issue while visiting Chicago. Certainly, there are hotbeds of violence in all of these places, but it’s a stretch to say, one or another, which is safer.


I researched international crime rates for a detective story in which the main character is sent from Chicago to Beirut. To my surprise, Beirut is safer on pretty much all levels except for bribery/corruption than Chicago.


“… why, I can barely step outside my hotel without somebody trying to bribe me” :open_mouth:


It’s already been noted by others but when it comes to countries as large and diverse as the U.S. and Mexico, comparing one whole country against another rather than one city/region against another is almost meaningless.

I recently went on a trip with my kids to the Yucatan peninsula. The U.S. state department has different travel advisories for different regions of Mexico, and they rate the Yucatan area as on-par with major European cities like Paris. No question that it’s safer than a lot of places in the U.S.


This argument seems only half finished:

It’s certainly true that violent crime is unevenly distributed in Mexico; but it’s also unevenly distributed in the United States; so a meaningful comparison would really require comparing the unevenness of the two distributions.

If you are writing this from a travel perspective(I assume that’s what a ‘nomad capitalist’ does; at least when not bemoaning capital controls); you’d probably also need to do some additional slicing in terms of targets and motivations: kidnappers and local gangs feuding over territory, say, are both violent criminals; but the former may well have a special interest in some soft targets from out of town; while the latter probably isn’t as careful about collateral damage as you’d really like; but has nothing to gain and something to lose if they target someone who is unrelated to their dispute and probably has more consular assistance than the people who are.

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That recent tragedy in Matamoros is a good example of that. The cartel actually issued a public apology and turned over the gang members responsible for the murders in an attempt to smooth things over.

Obviously there’s no reason to believe that the cartel has any sincere ethical regrets or moral qualms about these murders but they do realize that it’s not good for business.


As someone who studies cities, I can generally be certain that someone hasn’t done the basics if they reach to Chicago for their crime example (unless it is a weirdly niche topic, Chicago stands out in some). Chicago is generally somewhere in the range of the 15th in rankings of homicide rates in the US. A comparable position on the list would be something like Cancun or Chihuahua. Chicago’s homicide rate has hovered somewhere around 20 per 100,000 for the last few years (big rounding here). Cancun and Chihuahua hover around 40. If you move towards the top of the list for each country, you start looking at an even bigger divergence. Colima (city) recently spiked to 180 per 100,00, while its statewide average runs around 80. In contrast St. Louis had a rough year and spiked to around 70 to take the US top rate. But let’s not look at the headline cities or the worst, let’s assume the argument is right, take out the most dangerous cities and it is far safer. One way we could do that is look at the safest Mexican states. Yucatan and Aguascalientes have been the two safest states in Mexico for more than a decade. The homicide rate in Yucatan hovers in the 2-3 per hundred thousand range and Aguascalientes bounces around in the 5-7 range. The US as a whole has been in the 4-7 range over that same time period. The US as a whole is comparable to the safest parts of Mexico. That’s not to put Mexico down in any way, after all I could visit most of Mexico and have a lower crime rate than my hometown, but let’s not use deeply dishonest stats. He keeps cherry picking the highest rates in the US and comparing them to the mid tier- to safest places in Mexico.


Wait wait - so he says certain areas of Mexico is very dangerous and to avoid those areas. Then he says a lot of areas in Mexico are a lot less dangerous. OK, fair, just like the US.

Then when looking at the US he wants to compare the worst US cities to the rest of Mexico? Like, duh. The worst areas of violence in the US are going to be worse than low crime areas of Mexico. But why would you make that comparison? Even within these high crime cities like Chicago or Kansas City, the violence is worst in certain areas, and just a few miles away in a different area the violent crime rate is pretty low.

The least violent places in the US are probably as safe or safer than the least violent places in Mexico too.

It is pretty hard to compare two large countries with how diverse and vast their make up is to conclusively prove which one is “safer” overall.

FWIW, it has been a long time since I have been to Cozumel or Cancun, but I would go again. The touristy areas are generally pretty safe. I would really like to see Chichen Itza.

I’ve never been to Mexico or the US and I feel they’re probably about as dangerous as each other (ie, fine if you steer clear of the dodgy area of town at night). However, in the US I’d be more worried that if I was in a public place and said something innocuous like “trans people are people”, that someone would just whip out a gun and start shooting.

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