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Safety — México City, Distrito Federal

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México City is often depicted as a dangerous city, and indeed, it does have the country's highest crime rate. So most first-time visitors, initially anxious, are surprised to find how safe the city feels. Nevertheless, there are real risks for visitors and some caution should be exercised.

Most crimes against tourists involve some form of petty theft such as pickpocketings or purse snatchings. Muggings are rare, but they do happen. There have been some instances of "express kidnappings" where the victim is forcibly taken to multiple ATMs and coerced into withdrawing cash until their card's limit is reached. By observing a few basic precautions the risks of being a victim of crime can be reduced. The Theft section is worth reviewing; it lists a few of the common strategies thieves employ to target and relieve tourists of their valuables. The most important thing to remember is that if you become a robbery victim, do not resist, hand over your valuables immediately. Thieves that target tourists go to where the tourists are. So be diligent in places like the Zona Rosa, Bosque de Chapultepec, and the Museo Nacional de Antropología as well as crowded public places such as the airport, bus stations, the metro, areas where street vendors congregate, and any other place that is crowded.

In México City, do not hail a taxi on the street unless it is absolutely necessary. Robberies and physical assaults by persons posing as taxi drivers is not unheard of. Always have the front desk call for a taxi or find a sitio (designated taxi stand) when out.

The biggest danger México City poses to physical safety is traffic, and, in particular, being struck by a vehicle while crossing the street. Traffic flows seem to defy the usual rules. Some divided streets actually only flow in one direction and some one-way streets have bus lanes running opposite to the direction of traffic. Do not always assume it is safe to cross when the light turns green as a vehcle may inexplicibly turn into your path. The best strategy for navigating the busy streets is to follow the wisdom of the crowds: cross when they cross, run when they run.

For information on safety while traveling in México, read the article "Safety — México."

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