This is an article printed in the Latitude 38
a sailors magazine from San Francisco.
Thanks for the permission to publizise it.
When you hear cruisers say they feel safer in Mexico than they do in the United States,
you shouldn't roll your eyes. Despite the fear-mongering, fact-ignoring stories by the
New York Times, the L.A. Times, and CNN, there is good reason for cruisers to feel the
way they do. For yes, despite the highly-publicized narco violence in certain well-
known areas of Mexico, the rate of death by firearms is actually higher — often much
higher — in the United States.
For Mexico as a whole, the death by firearms rate for the first half of ‘10 was 5.36 per
100,000. For the United States as a whole, it was 10.2 per 100,000 — or nearly twice as
high! Not exactly common knowledge, is it? If the U.S. media truly want to warn
American travelers about going to dangerous places, where are their warnings about
the U.S. Virgin Islands, 'America's Caribbean Paradise'? In ‘07, the U.S. Virgin Islands'
death by firearm rate was 37.6 per 100,000 — more than six times as great as the rate in
Mexico. Let’s not kid ourselves, as there are some very dangerous places in Mexico,
too. The northern state of Chihuahua, where notoriously violent Ciudad Juarez is
located, is the worst of them all. But even it has a lower rate of death by firearms than
do the U.S. Virgins.
Going to cruise to Puerto Vallarta this winter? You have reason to feel safe. So far this
year, Jalisco, the Mexican state in which P.V. is located, has had a death by firearm rate
of just 2.92 per 100,000, which is about 40% of the rate in California, about 30% of the
rate in the southwestern United States, and about 8% of the rate in the U.S. Virgins.
Going to Baja Sur, there is absolutely nothing. Would anyone like to offer any theories
on why the U.S. press so greatly exaggerates the violent death story in Mexico, and so
under-reports it in the United States?
No matter if you’re in the States or in Mexico, the key to safety is staying away from the
well-known dangerous areas, not looking for drugs, and not flashing wealth. In other
words, don't be an idiot. To the best of our knowledge, the only narco violence along
the Pacific Coast of Mexico has been in the megalopolis of Acapulco, where there has
been some terrible narco-on-narco violence. Nonetheless, we wouldn't avoid Acapulco
any more than we'd avoid San Francisco or Oakland because of their drug violence.
We'd be particularly careful, to be sure, but we wouldn't avoid them. So as we're about
to cast off for another season in Mexico, from the bottom of our hearts, we believe that
we’re going to a safer place than the United States. And the facts support our belief.
Even if you are just an "Armchair Sailor",
It is a great magazine to read.