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Concerns for safety and security in Mexico have risen steadily over the past decade and various foreign governments have cautioned travelers to Mexico to pay special attention to these matters. Generally standards of security, safety and supervision may not reach those expected by residents of some of the more developed nations. Crime in Mexico remains at high levels (compared to many first-world crime rates) and the rates of apprehension and conviction remain low, factors that contribute to the feelings of insecurity.
The crime pattern in Mexico is similar to that in the U.S. and most countries: big cities generally have higher crime rates than small towns or rural areas. Practical tips:
1. Use the safety deposit box at your hotel, rather than carrying your valuables with you at all times.
2. Try to keep a low profile, yet appear confident. Walk with a sense of purpose and try not to look lost, even if you are. Don't flash money or look like you have lots valuables. The same goes for eye-catching jewelry. The middle class look probably is best; one gets respect and is respectful, but doesn't stand out too much. Look people in the eye when passing and say, "Buenos días" or "buenas tardes"; this usually elicits a positive response.
3. Any appearance of weakness may attract attention. Muggers and criminals are looking for are easy targets. That includes anyone who appears intoxicated, weaker in strength, tired, sick, etc
4. Be extra cautious at night or in dark areas. Anything that gives criminals an advantage may be exploited.
5. Ask about safety, especially if you will be going off the beaten track. If the area is questionable, take a taxi or a tour. Since the economic crisis in 1994, the crime in Mexico has doubled, but the crime is very rarely violent they will take your money to feed themselves but they very rarely hurt you.
The first cause of death for foreigners in Mexico is car accidents, not crime. So drive carefully.