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Notes on Safety — México

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Despite sensational and disturbing news reports, México is a safe place to visit and the likelihood of encountering problems while traveling there is minimal. Even in México City, with its grim crime statistics, the threat is comparable or only slightly greater than in major US cities.

Along the northern border, cities -- such as Tijuana, Ciudad Juárez, and Nuevo Laredo p-- have been getting a lot of negative press because of drug-related violence. The violence is the result of turf wars between drug traffickers and sometimes the police. It is almost unheard of for an ordinary traveler to fall victim to this violence.

The real problem is one of perception, not reality. The media, particularly the witless television news in the US, likes to focus on sensational stories, and, no doubt, the stories coming out of México about the drug wars are sensational. Even though these stories are real, they do not reflect the everyday lives of most Méxicans or the experiences of travelers visiting there. Imagine a different situation, where all you knew about the US was a steady stream of news reports on the grisly crimes committed there. Just think how skewed your view of the US would be. The reality is that Méxicans, just like everyone else, get up in the morning, go to work or school, come home, don't get murdered day in and day out doing it. But that, of course, is not news.

That said, of course, just like everywhere else, there are places and situations in México that are not safe. But using a little common sense and caution should ensure a safe trip.

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