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Old 03-06-2016, 07:54 AM   #41
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Interesting back and forth. I feel like I'm reading the comments section of an on line newspaper.

Perhaps statistics that relate directly to crime against tourists would be more useful, though I can see where these might be fudged or minimized to keep the tourist industry happy.
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Old 03-06-2016, 08:23 AM   #42
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It's very important to cite numbers using the same denominator. Fermion is quoting rates per million, while dixonge is quoting rates per hundred thousand.

Bingo! Missed that part..


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Old 03-06-2016, 09:01 AM   #43
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Perhaps statistics that relate directly to crime against tourists would be more useful, though I can see where these might be fudged or minimized to keep the tourist industry happy.
So lets roll our own.

According to the State Department 20 MM Americans visited Mexico and another 1MM live there. So if we assume each visitor spent an average of 5 days and each resident spent an average of 50 weeks in the country, that works out to be 450MM days Americans spent in Mexico each year.

Now according to the State Department travel warning section on Mexico, about 100 Americans were murdered in Mexico in each of the last two years. They don't tell us the circumstances of those murders - where they killed by friends, where they participating in crime, etc. - but let's assume they're all innocent tourists gunned down while sipping margaritas.

That leaves us with 100 murders over 450MM person days in the country. That means on any given day an American in Mexico has about a 1 in 4,500,000 chance of being murdered.

To put that number in perspective, the risk from dying while scuba diving (a popular sport off the coast of Mexico) is 1 in 200,000.
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Old 03-06-2016, 09:40 AM   #44
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So lets roll our own.

According to the State Department 20 MM Americans visited Mexico and another 1MM live there. So if we assume each visitor spent an average of 5 days and each resident spent an average of 50 weeks in the country, that works out to be 450MM days Americans spent in Mexico each year.

Now according to the State Department travel warning section on Mexico, about 100 Americans were murdered in Mexico in each of the last two years. They don't tell us the circumstances of those murders - where they killed by friends, where they participating in crime, etc. - but let's assume they're all innocent tourists gunned down while sipping margaritas.

That leaves us with 100 murders over 450MM person days in the country. That means on any given day an American in Mexico has about a 1 in 4,500,000 chance of being murdered.

To put that number in perspective, the risk from dying while scuba diving (a popular sport off the coast of Mexico) is 1 in 200,000.
But your risk of dying while wing suit gliding in Mexico is 1 in 500
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Old 03-06-2016, 09:46 AM   #45
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So lets roll our own.

That leaves us with 100 murders over 450MM person days in the country. That means on any given day an American in Mexico has about a 1 in 4,500,000 chance of being murdered.

To put that number in perspective, the risk from dying while scuba diving (a popular sport off the coast of Mexico) is 1 in 200,000.
So are we only discussing the murder rate of Americans? What about having a gun shoved in your face? What about implied threats without weapons (the "offer" of "safety insurance")? These might be more difficult to measure, but probably many orders of magnitude higher.
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Old 03-06-2016, 10:06 AM   #46
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So lets roll our own.

According to the State Department 20 MM Americans visited Mexico and another 1MM live there. So if we assume each visitor spent an average of 5 days and each resident spent an average of 50 weeks in the country, that works out to be 450MM days Americans spent in Mexico each year.

Now according to the State Department travel warning section on Mexico, about 100 Americans were murdered in Mexico in each of the last two years. They don't tell us the circumstances of those murders - where they killed by friends, where they participating in crime, etc. - but let's assume they're all innocent tourists gunned down while sipping margaritas.

That leaves us with 100 murders over 450MM person days in the country. That means on any given day an American in Mexico has about a 1 in 4,500,000 chance of being murdered.

To put that number in perspective, the risk from dying while scuba diving (a popular sport off the coast of Mexico) is 1 in 200,000.
I was thinking about this while out walking with the DW this morning. The true measure of risk is much more specific than statistics can cover. So 200 American citizens (out of millions) visiting or living in Mexico were killed. What is that expressed in rate per hundred thousand? How does that compare to an American just living in America?

Also, just randomly clicking on some Google searches brings up another point - being an American citizen doesn't mean you are of European descent. Your entire family can be Mexican but have US citizenship, or maybe you were born here. This would definitely be a factor driving across the border, differentiating you from, say, me. Or you could be married to a Mexican. Many factors go into this. Until you know the breakdown, you can't really assess your true risk.
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Old 03-06-2016, 10:07 AM   #47
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So are we only discussing the murder rate of Americans? What about having a gun shoved in your face? What about implied threats without weapons (the "offer" of "safety insurance")? These might be more difficult to measure, but probably many orders of magnitude higher.
We can discuss it, but it would be meaningless without some sort of actual, verifiable numbers. Do you have any?
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Old 03-06-2016, 10:18 AM   #48
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I've traveled to Mexico with a small camper shell several times. 1987 for 3 weeks to Cabo San Lucas, no problems. ~ 1989 w Beaver camper, surrounded by Federales with machine guns pointed at us, once. 9 pm at night, ended with us giving them hot dogs, they went away happy. We moved the campsite at 9 pm to a different place.

But, then, my DW and I took a cab from Tijuana to a restaurant called Guadalajara Grill, on the way there the cab driver took us into a shopping center parking lot. Two guys with big guns looked us over and left. The cab driver paid a token to exit the lot and continued on the way to the restaurant. We didn't, apparently, look like the people they were after that day. Never went back after that. This took place ~ 1997.
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Old 03-06-2016, 10:51 AM   #49
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So 200 American citizens (out of millions) visiting or living in Mexico were killed. What is that expressed in rate per hundred thousand? How does that compare to an American just living in America?
If we did the same math I did above using the U.S. murder rate of ~42 per million with a population of 330MM, you come up with a risk of being murdered in the U.S. of 1 in 8.6MM per day.

That puts the risk of being murdered in Mexico on any given day at roughly double that in the US.

Which sounds about right to me. Nobody is saying that Mexico is as safe as the U.S. It isn't.

So if someone lives their life worrying about 1 in ~5MM possibilities, then they really should stay home. And I'd wager they already do.
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Old 03-06-2016, 11:14 AM   #50
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So are we only discussing the murder rate of Americans? What about having a gun shoved in your face? What about implied threats without weapons (the "offer" of "safety insurance")? These might be more difficult to measure, but probably many orders of magnitude higher.
Are you looking for data to help form an opinion or are you just fishing for a way to confirm an existing opinion?

Either way, I don't think the data needed to answer your question actually exists.

What I can offer by way of answer, though, is what I've experienced over the past 65 days in Mexico. During the past two months we've traveled to 13 different locations across the south and central parts of the country. We've taken public transportation; spent two weeks in Mexico City and traveled extensively on the subway.

We've not once had a gun shoved in our faces. We've never had a single person even speak harshly to us let alone threaten us in any way. And we've never witnessed any of those things happening to anyone else either.

When we go out after dark, the streets and parks are generally crowded with people of all kinds, including families and women out by themselves. In that sense it doesn't feel like a country under siege or one that is "lawless in every way" as one commentor here so delicately put it.

Having said that, in many places there is a pretty visible presence of heavily armed police. They are their for a reason. So walking down the street in Mexico City doesn't have the same vibe as strolling through Des Moines, Iowa (but that's also kind of the point of traveling).

Overall, we've never felt unsafe anywhere we've traveled in Mexico. And we wouldn't hesitate to spend future winters here.

YMMV
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Old 03-06-2016, 01:00 PM   #51
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There are also questions about reporting accuracies, both in Mexico and the U.S.
Damn little reasonable question about murder stats in the US.

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Old 03-06-2016, 01:22 PM   #52
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So if someone lives their life worrying about 1 in ~5MM possibilities, then they really should stay home. And I'd wager they already do.
You seem to specialize in red herrings. From whence the need to sell Mexico?

I understand that a cheap travel blogger, or someone who can have a much more luxe lifestyle in retirement in Mexico than he could afford in the US has a dog in the fight, so to speak.

But it is highly unlikely that the US government travel warnings are biased against the states south of our border. After all, those governments are always leaning on ours to avoid upsetting the apple cart.

It is also highly unlikely that a prospective American traveler has no opportunities other than Mexico, unless he is interested in pre-Columbian art and architecture. So if someone looks at the issues and decides, "I think I'll take the family to Hawaii instead", is it reasonable to depict this person as hiding under a chair? Not unless one has a need to bolster a personally important position.

Ha
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Old 03-06-2016, 01:47 PM   #53
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You seem to specialize in red herrings. From whence the need to sell Mexico?

I understand that a cheap travel blogger, or someone who can have a much more luxe lifestyle in retirement in Mexico than he could afford in the US has a dog in the fight, so to speak.

But it is highly unlikely that the US government travel warnings are biased against the states south of our border. After all, those governments are always leaning on ours to avoid upsetting the apple cart.

It is also highly unlikely that a prospective American traveler has no opportunities other than Mexico, unless he is interested in pre-Columbian art and architecture. So if someone looks at the issues and decides, "I think I'll take the family to Hawaii instead", is it reasonable to depict this person as hiding under a chair? Not unless one has a need to bolster a personally important position.

Ha
Wow, talk about specializing in red herrings and a bunch of strawmen too? Let me count the ways:

1) "From whence to sell Mexico" - no one is selling Mexico. I admit to getting annoyed when people who admittedly have zero experience in a country say terrible things about it. I'd defend other places the same way. Nothing special about Mexico in that regard.

2) "I understand that a cheap travel blogger . . . " You don't know me. I don't live in Mexico. In a few days I'll be heading back "home" to New York City, thank you very much. And I have no dog in this fight other than pushing back against a bunch of ugly stereotypes.

3) "It is highly unlikely that the US government travel warnings are biased against the states south of our border." Who said anything about bias? I think I was pretty clear in stating my view that the U.S. travel warnings are insanely conservative to the point of being almost useless. I even posted the ridiculous warning about France as an illustration of that fact. I never said, or implied, that they were biased.

4) "So if someone looks at the issues and decides, "I think I'll take the family to Hawaii instead . . ." Is that even the argument here? No one has said anyone has to go to Mexico. On the other hand the OP asked about visiting Mexico and people here responded by comparing it to a war zone and the inside of a volcano. Why does it bother you when someone says those characterizations are untrue?

5) "Not unless one has a need to bolster a personally important position." Back at you. Why do you care that the stereotype of Mexico as some lawless hellhole goes unchallenged?
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Old 03-06-2016, 02:05 PM   #54
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My only point was that the U.S. travel warnings are insanely conservative.
Somewhat similar to the warnings about "Containing Hot Liquids" currently printed on takeout coffee cups, (following that ridiculous (and successful) lawsuit where a woman spilled some on herself and then sued McDonalds, or some other outfit); if the travel warnings weren't so conservative it's a given that someone, or countless someones, would scream "But you said...(or didn't say)" if something/anything happened to them.
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Old 03-06-2016, 02:09 PM   #55
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You totally fooled me about not selling Mexico. So sorry, I just couldn't imagine what else you were doing.

There has to be a reason why our Southwest is host to many Mexicans, from poor laborers to billionaires. And some of them say that are leaving, /have left Mexico because of danger and fears for their personal safety and that of their families.

But I'll go with your testimony, since you claim to have no personal or financial reason for it, blog notwithstanding.
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Old 03-06-2016, 02:28 PM   #56
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Somewhat similar to the warnings about "Containing Hot Liquids" currently printed on takeout coffee cups . . If the travel warnings weren't so conservative it's a given that someone, or countless someones, would scream "But you said...(or didn't say)" if something/anything happened to them.
I completely agree.

But here's the thing about those warnings. No one who wants a cup of coffee ever decided not to buy one because of the ridiculous caution label on the cup. That's not true with travel, though. Plenty of people get scared off of travel because the State Department says things like terrorists are targeting France.

And then when those same people come to internet forums like this one asking for advice they hear much worse from a bunch of people who have no interest in, or experience with, the destination in question but nonetheless have very strong opinions about why other people shouldn't visit.

Travel is scary enough for most folks. What they need is accurate and relevant information to help them make an informed decision about where and how to travel. C.Y.A. travel advisories don't really do that. They just discourage people from traveling. As do comments like peppering this thread.

P.S. If I have a "dog in this fight" that pretty much sums it up.
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Old 03-06-2016, 02:30 PM   #57
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Somewhat similar to the warnings about "Containing Hot Liquids" currently printed on takeout coffee cups, (following that ridiculous (and successful) lawsuit where a woman spilled some on herself and then sued McDonalds, or some other outfit)......
As long as we are full thread drift argumentative mode.........

It was not a ridiculous case. The Actual Facts about the Mcdonalds' Coffee Case


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After receiving the order, the grandson pulled his car forward and stopped momentarily so that Liebeck could add cream and sugar to her coffee. (Critics of civil justice, who have pounced on this case, often charge that Liebeck was driving the car or that the vehicle was in motion when she spilled the coffee; neither is true.) Liebeck placed the cup between her knees and attempted to remove the plastic lid from the cup. As she removed the lid, the entire contents of the cup spilled into her lap.
The sweatpants Liebeck was wearing absorbed the coffee and held it next to her skin. A vascular surgeon determined that Liebeck suffered full thickness burns (or third-degree burns) over 6 percent of her body, including her inner thighs, perineum, buttocks, and genital and groin areas. She was hospitalized for eight days, during which time she underwent skin grafting. Liebeck, who also underwent debridement treatments, sought to settle her claim for $20,000, but McDonalds refused.
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Old 03-06-2016, 02:36 PM   #58
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But I'll go with your testimony, since you claim to have no personal or financial reason for it, blog notwithstanding.
Seeing as how you want to make this very personal, I'll play along . . . I haven't made any effort to monetize my blog. You won't find any advertisements, sponsored posts, or advertorials on my site. I don't accept or solicit free trips, products, or excursions and have no relationships with any tourism bureau or agency of any kind. I do have a couple of affiliate links to products I use and recommend and have sold some photography on an unsolicited basis, but that's it. You'll find at least as many posts about products I've tried and hated.

The blog is mostly just a hobby that gives me a reason to think about the places I've been and reflect on what makes each one unique.
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Old 03-06-2016, 02:42 PM   #59
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As long as we are full thread drift argumentative mode.........

It was not a ridiculous case. The Actual Facts about the Mcdonalds' Coffee Case
Me...when I make fresh coffee, I pour it out of the carafe into my cup....then I nuke it.

I like my coffee hot. I expect my coffee to be hot.
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Old 03-06-2016, 03:02 PM   #60
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We can discuss it, but it would be meaningless without some sort of actual, verifiable numbers. Do you have any?
Nope, just the comment from my friend from Mexico. Based on his advice, plus the state department's warning, I personally will probably not drive into Mexico. You are free to have a different opinion and to choose otherwise.

Oh, here's an excerpt from the warning.

Carjacking and highway robbery are serious problems in many parts of the border region, and U.S. citizens have been murdered in such incidents. Most victims who complied with carjackers' demands have reported that they were not physically harmed.
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