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Safe to visit mexico city?



 
 
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  #1  
Old July 20th, 2005, 11:24 PM
yoni
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Default Safe to visit mexico city?

I would like to go visit Mexico City, but I read online that there is
so much crime that I am having 2nd doubts. Kidnappings, robberies,
etc..

Anyone know if its any safer now? Is it worth the risk?

Plus keep in mind that I will be with locals ( I am going to visit a
friend).

-Yoni

  #2  
Old July 20th, 2005, 11:37 PM
k
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Ask your friends if they consider it to be safe. My wife and I spent the
last two weeks of May in Mexico City and had no problem at all, nor did we
hear of any problems. We were swept up in a protest of about a million
people one day (protesting the charges against the mayor of the city). Even
with that, there was no problem, except it took us about two hours longer
than we planned to cross the street, and we crossed it dozens of blocks from
our hotel.

We had been to the city a few times in the past, but always as a stopover on
the way to somewhere else. Well, no more. It's a gorgeous place, hard to
believe the quoted population numbers, and there is a certain
hard-to-describe zing about the place. It's wonderful, so enjoy your visit!

Keith
"yoni" wrote in message
oups.com...
I would like to go visit Mexico City, but I read online that there is
so much crime that I am having 2nd doubts. Kidnappings, robberies,
etc..

Anyone know if its any safer now? Is it worth the risk?

Plus keep in mind that I will be with locals ( I am going to visit a
friend).

-Yoni



  #3  
Old July 20th, 2005, 11:57 PM
Richard
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Default

"yoni" wrote in message
oups.com...
I would like to go visit Mexico City, but I read online that there is
so much crime that I am having 2nd doubts. Kidnappings, robberies,
etc..


Every big city has crime. I'd be more worried about the pollution than the
kidnappings.

Anyone know if its any safer now?


As compared to...?

Is it worth the risk?


Definitely.

Plus keep in mind that I will be with locals ( I am going to visit a
friend).


Mexico City, like any other big city, has areas that are more dangerous than
others. Avoid the sketchy parts (a local will be a huge asset in achieving
this), use your common sense (don't count your money in the metro) and
you'll be just fine.

For what it's worth, last time I was in Mexico City, I had a copy of the
Lonely Planet's guide to Mexico which I showed to a Mexican friend who got a
good chuckle reading the section on dangers and precautions for the capital.
She told me that they really went overboard in describing things that could
go wrong and precautions to take.

Also, keep in mind that Mexicans living away from Mexico City tend to paint
an even grimmer picture of their capital than does the international media.
If you happen to encounter any horror stories from Mexicans outside the
capital before you get there, just be sympathetic and listen to what they
have to say but don't let it scare you -- Mexico City is a great place to
visit!

Richard


  #4  
Old July 21st, 2005, 12:12 AM
yoni
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Default

Wow thank you very much, I feel much better now.

thank you very mucn for the quick reply.

-yoni

  #5  
Old July 21st, 2005, 12:15 AM
yoni
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You are very right about " Every big city has crime"..

But the things that the media says make Mexico city sound like hell! I
just got back from Cancun where I met the friend that I would like to
go visit.

But you are right, use common sense and I will be alright..

thank you very much for the quick reply.

-Yoni

p.s. any further tips would be appreciated.

  #6  
Old July 21st, 2005, 03:27 AM
Richard Ferguson
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If you do go to Mexico City, be careful. I take precautions in Mexico
City that I take nowhere else that I travel.

The references below are mostly several years old, but the overall
situation has not changed much. Occasionally I read that the government
is going to clean up the taxi system, but they have said that many times
before. The last time I was in Mexico city, I took a taxi with no
markings, but a copy of a court order in the window. (The court system
is part of the problem with lack of control of taxis). I did not worry
because it was from the Bus station, and somebody with a clipboard was
logging departures.


MEXICO CITY TAXI ROBBERIES

For tourists, perhaps the most serious crime problem in Mexico is taxi
robbery in Mexico City. This problem is more or less unique to Mexico
City, so many tourists are not aware of the problem. The governments
of the US, UK, Canada, France and Australia warn travelers of taxi
robberies. I have also read several first person accounts of taxi
robberies, via the internet and in the media. Taxi robberies in
Mexico City have been covered in US and Mexico media, both TV and
newspapers. Basically, anybody who knows Mexico knows that taxi
robberies are a problem in Mexico City, and takes certain precautions
to prevent themselves becoming a victim. The exact recommendations may
vary, but it is unwise to ignore the problem and pretend that "It
can't happen to me."

A taxi robbery generally works something like this: The victim or
victims get into a taxi, usually a green VW beetle taxi. After a few
blocks, the taxi stops, and one or two armed men enter the taxi and
rob the victim. In many cases, the victim is held for hours while the
robbers use the victim's ATM card to get more money. This is
sometimes called an "express" kidnapping. In a few cases, the victim
is held overnight to allow withdrawing more money the next day. The
taxi driver is part of the gang, and may have stolen the taxi. In
some cases, a waiter or hotel employee may also be part of the gang.

In one article that I read, the robbers found out that they were
robbing a reporter. While he was being held at gunpoint on the floor
of the taxi, they told him not to write anything bad about Mexico! An
American resident of Mexico City was killed in a daylight taxi robbery
in December 1997. An American reporter was shot in a taxi robbery
April 20, 1998. The personal accounts that I have read indicate that
a taxi robbery, even if you are unhurt, is a very traumatic
experience. As far as I can tell, from reading the papers and taking
taxis, there are lots of "unofficial" taxis, and the government
has not solved the problem yet.

So, what can you do to protect yourself from taxi robberies? Use the
official sitio taxis at the airport and bus stations. Buy a ticket at
the window, and take that ticket to the official taxi stand. If there
is no taxi stand (sitio) where you are, call a radio taxi. Get the
taxi number so you get into the correct taxi. According to an article
about taxi robbery in the November 1998 issue of US/Mexico Business,
radio taxis have become so popular that it is difficult to get a radio
taxi after dark on a weekend. Generally, the roving taxis are the
problem, not the ones that work from official taxi stands, which
should have a supervisor with a clipboard logging taxi departures.

I was in Mexico City in January 2002, and I was very satisfied with
the radio taxi company "Radio Servicios Moviles de Transporte", and
got their card, which showed numbers 5771-4012, 5771-0130, 5760-4696
and 5551-7710. One of the taxi drivers told me that the company was
founded more than 30 years ago, partly at the instigation of the then
US ambassador, because American visitors were being robbed in those
days also. If you call yourself, you will need to give your location
and what you are wearing. I am not sure if their dispatchers speak
much English, I did not put them to the test. They will give you the
color of the taxi and it's unit number. One time they asked me to
move to the other side of the street to simplify a pickup, I did, and
the taxi was there in five minutes. These taxis are not marked.

There are many other radio taxi services. The US government suggests
the following phone numbers. 5271-9146, 5271-9058, and 5272-6125.
You can ask your hotel for a recommendation.

The Canadian government in their March 1998 advisory said that you
should leave your credit cards and ATM cards in the hotel safe, to
minimize the risk that you will be held prisoner while the robbers use
your cards. (The current warning is worded more mildly). The current
Australian government also advises you to leave your credit cards in
the hotel safe. Only carry the cash that you will need that day. Some
people, including the French government, say you should carry 20 or 30
dollars US, to prevent a robber from becoming angry with too small an
amount. Consider using your ATM cards only at ATM machines inside a
bank or other commercial facility during regular banking hours, as
recommended by the US government. Even the Mexican government
recommends that you not carry your ATM card with you unless you plan
to use it.

If you are robbed, comply and hand over your valuables immediately.
This will greatly reduce the risk of violence. Don't look the
criminal in the eye. Your life is worth much more than your
camera or your credit cards.

Other types of public transportation are also targets of crime.
The buses are robbed often enough that the government has listed
the bus routes and times that are most frequently robbed, and
gives specific instructions about what to do if the bus is robbed.
The metro (subway) also is subject to crime, both pickpockets and
robbers.

Official statistics show that crime in Mexico has doubled since the
start of the economic crisis in 1994. However, I should note that
victim surveys and many government crime statistics indicate that
crime rates in Mexico City are similar to or lower than rates in urban
areas in the US. In private correspondence with a university
professor working in statistics, I have been told that Mexican crime
statistics are a little primitive, and are not really worthy of
confidence. I have seen few crime statistics for visitors and
tourists, just overall statistics or surveys of residents. There
is some information to indicate that crime in Mexico is more
likely to include violence or threats of violence than in the USA.

In a brief visit to Mexico City in July 1999, my friend Miguel, a
lifelong resident of Mexico City, said that he felt that the crime
situation was exaggerated. When I was with him, I did get into a
couple of roving taxis, somewhat against my better judgement. I still
feel that roving taxis should be avoided, and I did avoid them for the
rest of our time in Mexico City. I also carefully reviewed the ID for
the driver before I got into a tourist taxi outside a museum. We did
see one noteworthy thing on that trip, relating to the police. There
was a police car, running red lights and siren, so overstuffed with
police officers that neither of the rear doors could close. It looked
a lot more like the Keystone cops than a professional police force. Of
course, the Mexican police are often criticized for being ineffective
and corrupt.

Should you go to Mexico City? Of course, the decision is yours. There
are lots of things to do in the largest city in the world, but it is
not a place to relax and let down your guard. Mexico is a big country,
and most areas of Mexico are much safer than Mexico City. If you do
decide to go to Mexico City, read the various government travel
advisories before you arrive, and practice security while you are
there.

Richard Ferguson
August 3, 2003


There are several web sites with security information for travelers
and tourists. The ones that I am aware of are listed below. I urge
people to review the information on these web sites, compare the
recommendations of the various countries to each other, and compare
the various government recommendations to any personal opinions
expressed on the internet. The government web sites include security
and other travel information for virtually all the countries in the
world, including each other.

USA - http://travel.state.gov/travel_warnings.html

UK - http://193.114.50.10/travel/default.asp

Canada - http://www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/graphic...os/cntry_e.htm

Australia -http://www.dfat.gov.au/consular/advice/advices_mnu.html

The French government has a web site with security information, in
French. http://www.diplomatie.fr/voyageurs/e...avis/conseils/

The following web sites offer personal views on security.

Mexico Mike gives his views about security in Mexico at
www.mexicomike.com



yoni wrote:
I would like to go visit Mexico City, but I read online that there is
so much crime that I am having 2nd doubts. Kidnappings, robberies,
etc..

Anyone know if its any safer now? Is it worth the risk?

Plus keep in mind that I will be with locals ( I am going to visit a
friend).

-Yoni

  #7  
Old July 21st, 2005, 03:01 PM
PabloRena ---> AnalProbe
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Posts: n/a
Default


"yoni" wrote in message
oups.com...
I would like to go visit Mexico City, but I read online that there is
so much crime that I am having 2nd doubts. Kidnappings, robberies,
etc..

Anyone know if its any safer now? Is it worth the risk?

Plus keep in mind that I will be with locals ( I am going to visit a
friend).

-Yoni


No, its very dangerous, especially for hand-wringing worriers such as
yourself. Heck, even the subway stops in Mexico City have dangerous
sounding names, eg "Barranca de los Muertos" (english "Canyon of the
Dead")!!

Your best bet is to stay home, keep the curtains closed, and don't turn on
your lights at night. Wait for more information.


  #8  
Old July 21st, 2005, 09:34 PM
k
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Posts: n/a
Default


A taxi robbery generally works something like this: The victim or
victims get into a taxi, usually a green VW beetle taxi. After a few
blocks, the taxi stops, and one or two armed men enter the taxi and
rob the victim. In many cases, the victim is held for hours while the
robbers use the victim's ATM card to get more money. This is
sometimes called an "express" kidnapping. In a few cases, the victim
is held overnight to allow withdrawing more money the next day. The
taxi driver is part of the gang, and may have stolen the taxi. In
some cases, a waiter or hotel employee may also be part of the gang.

This particular paragraph sounds very implausible to me. VW beetles are
very small vehicles with no back doors. Because of this simple fact, you
will always see a single passenger riding 'shotgun' in the front seat, and
only additional passengers sit in the back. How exactly would this allow
'one or two armed men' to enter the cab in the first place. If taxi crime
is your biggest worry, then don't take taxis at all. You can get abolutely
anywhere in the city just as fast by bus, and bus rides range in cost from
2.5 to 5 pesos, so half a buck max. Faster yet is the Metro, and it's huge,
though it doesn't cover a lot of spots away from downtown that would
interest a tourist.

Don't worry. I'm sure you'll learn to love the place just during the ride
in from the airport. The city is gorgeous, with wide streets, tons of shade
trees, and beautiful things everywhere. Just be careful crossing streets
where they meet at odd angles, because your 'walk' light won't mean much to
a driver who also has a green light.

Keith


  #9  
Old July 22nd, 2005, 12:33 AM
cherveto
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Default

PabloRena --- AnalProbe wrote:
"yoni" wrote in message
oups.com...

I would like to go visit Mexico City, but I read online that there is
so much crime that I am having 2nd doubts. Kidnappings, robberies,
etc..

Anyone know if its any safer now? Is it worth the risk?

Plus keep in mind that I will be with locals ( I am going to visit a
friend).

-Yoni



No, its very dangerous, especially for hand-wringing worriers such as
yourself. Heck, even the subway stops in Mexico City have dangerous
sounding names, eg "Barranca de los Muertos" (english "Canyon of the
Dead")!!

Your best bet is to stay home, keep the curtains closed, and don't turn on
your lights at night. Wait for more information.


Unplug the PC should also be a good idea to avoid being traced ...
  #10  
Old July 22nd, 2005, 08:01 PM
seres
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Default

LOL! Don't scare them more that they already are!!!!!!!!poor
people!!!!!!!!!!! Just take precautions like when you are going to any
city in the WHOLE WORLD now days!!!!!!!!!!!

 




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