Crime and Safety In Lake Chapala, Mexico

July 7, 2010

Crime And Safety In Lake Chapala, Mexico

By: Kristina Morgan

We live in Lake Chapala, south of Guadalajara and a few hours drive from Puerto Vallarta. My husband I have lived here for many years and were raising three of our children here and one of the primary reasons is because it is so safe. Clearly, there are facts to back up my feeling.

If you look at the NationMaster’s Crime Per Capita, the U.S. is #8 on the list of high crime and Mexico is down at #39.

To help put this in perspective, Christine Delsol writes, Everything is relative.

Would knowing that Miami has the highest violent crime rate in the United States keep you from going to the Grand Canyon, or even Disney World, in the same state?

A study just published by RE/MAX Investment Properties indicates that major tourist zones in Mexico are up to 26 times safer than some tourist zones in the United States. Clearly, they want to sell real estate and that is their interest in doing the study….but they also sell real estate in the U.S. so I have to wonder if their study had any adverse affects on their sales in the cities they mention below.

Their study reveals that the state of Baja California Sur home to Los Cabos, La Paz and Loreto has a homicide rate 26 times lower than Orlando, 18 times lower than Miami, 17 times lower than West Palm Beach, 12 times lower than Tampa and half that of Honolulu.

In addition, the study points out that Mexican tourist zones are even safer when the homicide rates are compared with major cities in the United States and Canada.

For example, Baja California Sur has a homicide rate 39 times lower than Washington D.C., 19 times lower than Houston, 17 times lower than Dallas, 7 times lower than the city of New York and 3 times lower than Vancouver.

Lake Chapala is one of the safest places I have ever been and I didnt live in big cities North of the Border. Greeley, Colorado certainly doesnt top the crime lists anywhere but it was far more dangerous to live there with murders, rapes and armed robberies reported every week than it has ever been here in the Chapala/Ajijic area of Mexico.

Focus on Mexico recently sent out a survey to find out what other residents had to say about crime and safety in the Lake Chapala/Ajijic area, and these are a few comments that seem to embody the general sentiments of the people who responded:

Clay McAdam:

I would like to share my impressions and feelings from the perspective of a retired Edmonton police officer who has chosen to live permanently in Mexico. We feel perfectly safe walking in the streets of Ajijic at any time of day or night. It never ceases to amaze me when walking down the street and being greeted with an hola or buenos dias, by people whom we do not know. Not since I was child in a small town in southwestern Saskatchewan have I been greeted in this manner.

The North American news media has taken a situation that is occurring in the border areas and is blowing it totally out of proportion as far as I am concerned. My advice is to come to Lake Chapala and see what it is like to live in a happy and enjoyable environment.

Jerry Pounds:

My personal feeling is that Lake Chapala is as safe a place as one will find anywhere.

I decided the second day that I was in Mexico (with you wonderful folks at FOCUS on MEXICO) that I would spend as much of the rest of my life in the Lake Chapala area as possible. Two years later I think of myself as Mexican/American and am very happy with my decision. As soon as I can finish business obligations in the states, I will live full time in Ajijic and have absolutely no fear of violence in Mexico. In summary, Lake Chapala is much closer to Andy Griffith’s Mayberry, as far as safety goes, than any place I have been in the states, in Europe and the rest of Mexico.

Lori Truly:

I would be happy to comment on the “crime” (or lack there of) in the Lake Chapala area. First of all when my husband and I lived here in 1997, we had no children and I asked my husband if we ever have children, can we raise them here?” He said sure and chuckled, because we never thought the dream would come true.

Well, it has, and the children love it! Why did we want to raise our children here? The safety. Is there petty theft? Sure, like anywhere, lock your doors when you leave the house, and don’t be careless with your belongings, and you’ll be O.K. just like any “nice” neighborhood in the states. I

feel so much more secure here, than I do in the States now. When I visit there, I am nearly uncomfortable. Always looking over my shoulder, making sure my children are safe, and always holding on to my pocket book. Not here!!!! I just love it here, and have NO desire to go back north at all.

Sheila Turner:

I have always lived in large cities in the U.S., and I am no stranger to crime. Here, I live alone and there has been no time that I have felt insecure or fearful. All I can say is “It’s a great life.”

In summary, I have no idea if the American media is just lazy or if they have an agenda, but I cannot sit idly by and allow all of Mexico to be painted with such a broad brush. Lake Chapala is, indeed, safe.

Article Source:

About the Author:
Kristina Morgan: Director of Public Relations for FocusOnMexico.
To help you in making a choice, Focus On Mexico offers 8-Day

Educational Programs to Ajijic and Lake Chapala, Mexico (2nd Best Climate in the World). Join us on a Focus program and learn why thousands of Americans and Canadians chose to retire in Lake Chapala.

  • GailAnne

    I agree with all the above, we have recently purchased a part-time vacation home in Ajijic and can’t wait to get back there this fall.

    We drove home this spring,having heard horrible stories of stranded and hijacked Canadians travelling towards the borders. We formed a 5 car convoy and in 12 hours crossed safely and with no incidents nor even hint of troubles along the way. Good toll roads, fine service centres and friendly border personnel, the media does get carried away in their reports. But they serve a purpose in that way, one is more aware and alert to the possible dangers and should take action accordingly.

    Being in Ajijic for 5 years now and out alone at night either walking or driving, I have felt as safe as my city in Ontario.

    Definitely use caution and common sense..anywhere…and enjoy the ‘view’. Certain Ontario cities can scare me much more than that area of Mexico.

  • Jim DeWitt

    Great article Sid – well said. We’re coming down in 2 weeks to the fabulous home you brokered for us. Although still in “vacation mode” and not “retirement”, it was such a wonderful feeling being in our home in Ajijic when we vacationed there last year. We’ve stayed in numerous B&B’s in Chapala and Ajijic and they were fabulous – but they didn’t compare to /our/ place. So many friends still caution us but I’m with you, compadre – Ajijic is the place to be. We couldn’t have done it without you. See you soon… Jim DeWitt

  • Sid Grosvenor

    Hi Friends, Thanks for the wonderful endorsement Jim. I use your story to let people know they need not be ready to retire today, next year or even several years to buy and enjoy a little slice of Lake Chapala Paradise. It’s a good place to park their money, possibly earn a steady income from it and then come to visit their investment every chance they get …before full time retirement. Thanks again. Siempre tu amigo, Sid

  • Sid Grosvenor

    Hi and Thanks for your informative post. I’m so happy that we have more and more defenders of our area of Mexico.

    Your post will help those who are undecided. Thanks again. Siempre tu amigo, Sid

  • Joe


    Looking for people traveling by car to Ajijic Mexico in November.

    Would like to travel with a group to cross the US/Mexico.



  • Keith

    Joe, we are going to drive to Ajijic in November. What border crossing will you be using? The current border situation is scary; however this is our first trip and we would like to have our car when we arrive in Ajijic.

  • Karen

    We’ll be making the drive from Chicago to Chapala in December. Usually we go through Nuevo Laredo and by Monterrey. The adverse publicity is scaring us. Has anyone made this drive lately? Any problems? Also are the roads by Monterrey OK? I know there was a lot of flood damage.

  • Sid Grosvenor

    Hi Karen, Not heard any negative reports lately,
    I’m driving to Texas for Thanksgiving.

    Will report more after this trip. Sid

  • Barbara

    As a Canadian who thought I had a basic understanding of American geography you can imagine my surprise to learn that the Grand Canyon is NOT in the state of Arizona as I always thought but actually in Florida with Miami and DisneyWorld.  Huh….who knew!?!  ;)

  • Sid Grosvenor

     HI Barbara, Thanks for your tongue in cheek comments. Sid

  • Leigh Christiansen

    I would love to travel with someone. Let’s team up. Where are you coming from? I’m in Las Vegas
    Call me, let’s talk. 702-798-7660

Email for more information:

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