Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Upon Further Review…Bordering on Dangerous

BOSTON - In the past, I only briefly addressed the State Department-issued travel advisory in Mexico as well as the Juarez murders. And I’ve yet to say anything about the most recent incident in Nuevo Laredo.

I probably haven’t been following these stories with as much vigor as I should, because, well, regardless, I’m moving to Mexico. I know there is an element of danger involved, so I’ll do my best to keep my guard. That seems to be all that I can do, so what use is it to read some of the scarier stuff happening?

Compounding the problem is that our government seems to sit idly on the sidelines. They are good at issuing travel advisories, and that is about it: “Recent violent attacks have prompted the U.S. Embassy to urge U.S. citizens to delay unnecessary travel to parts of Durango, Coahuila and Chihuahua states and advise U.S. citizens residing or traveling in those areas to exercise extreme caution.”

To me, this reads about the same as U.S. threat level of Orange for all flights. In other words, it doesn’t seem so bad. And considering we’ve been in the Orange zone for about a decade, travel advisories really don’t carry any meaning anymore (way to go, government!).

Let’s just take a closer look:
“U.S. citizens…should exercise caution in unfamiliar areas and be aware of their surroundings at all times.”
“All Americans should continue to be vigilant, take notice of their surroundings...”
Can you guess which warning is from the State Department about travel in Mexico, and which is from the Department of Homeland Security about the threat of terrorism in the States?

In my opinion, our government has been poor in keeping us informed about the threats of Mexico. You could learn more about the crime-related threats from visiting Wikipedia than from the travel advisories.

In doing my own research, I did find another good Web site called Prominix, which is where Wikipedia got a lot of its info. (Disclaimer: The Prominix report was financed by RRS y Asociados, a private consulting firm.)

It provides detailed maps (like the one I ripped from their report) displaying the frequency of violent crimes per Mexican state (per 100,000 people; so in the map I stole, the yellow Sonora means there were two to three property or violent crimes for every 100,000 people living in the state of Sonora in 2009…at least, that is the way I’m reading their data.)

The good news (mostly good, anyway), for Hermosillo at least, was this from the report’s conclusion:
"We, have successfully reduced most crime rates (excluding homicide) in Sonora working with the system as a whole: community & government. Sonora is the best evaluated state in Mexico’s northern border and has become a success story. Crime reduction in the past year ranges from 10 to 69%."

(I assume the "We" in that quote refers to the people and/or government of Mexico>
(Oh, and as for the quiz, the first statement was about Mexico, and the second about terrorism. The “…” indicate a section of the statement I deleted.)

Even with this report of improving situation, I'll heed the government's advice to remain viligant and know my surroundings, or was that to exercise extreme caution in unfamiliar areas?

Because obviously, my own personal safety is my own responsibility. But a little more info would be nice.


  1. Just wanted to let you know that I linked to you today!



    And it'll be okay in Mexico. So sorry there's so much going on down there. But you guys will be okay.

  2. Happy to read that Sonora is working towards crime reduction. Thanks for the resource, another good bidding tool for those considering Mexico.

  3. Hi David,
    I'm an incoming FSO for the May A-100 class...my dad lives and owns a business in Hermosillo, and my family has had a home in Kino Bay (about an hour from Hermosillo) for close to 14 years. I grew up in Tucson and have made countless trips to Hermosillo so let me know if you guys have any questions. Hopefully I can answer them, or put you in touch with someone who can.
    All the best,

  4. My family is currently living in Tijuana. My husband works at the consulate and we are aware of the crime that occurs in Tijuana, and crime is a problem here. However, I am not afraid. Maybe I should be, but I don't want to waste my time. We take as many precautions as we can...you know, lock our car doors everytime we get in or out of the car, never drive with our windows down, and many others.
    Like you said, you are going to be moving to Mexico regardless. You can live your life in fear, or you can be aware of your surroundings, and enjoy your experience. Not to say that nothing bad is going to happen to you, but things could happen no matter where you are.