How Safe is Lake Chapala, Mexico?

July 20, 2011

As a former Dallas Police Officer for 35 years I know more than most people about crime, criminals, and crime victims. I do my best to keep up on the local crime.
Here's part of a Travel Warning issued by the US Consulate in Guadalajara.
Date: April 22, 2011
United States Consulate General Guadalajara
“There is no evidence that U.S. tourists have been targeted by criminal elements due to their citizenship. Nonetheless, while in Mexico you should be aware of your surroundings at all times and exercise particular caution in unfamiliar areas. Bystanders, including U.S. citizens, have been injured or killed in violent incidents in various parts of the country, especially, but not exclusively in the northern border region, demonstrating the heightened risk of violence throughout Mexico. TCOs, meanwhile, engage in a wide-range of criminal activities that can directly impact U.S. citizens, including kidnapping, armed car-jacking, and extortion that can directly impact U.S. citizens. The number of U.S. citizens reported to the Department of State as murdered in Mexico increased from 35 in 2007 to 111 in 2010.”


Here's a quote from  an article published October 18th, 2010 in the Los Angeles Times written by Hugo Martín  to put the murder rate just cited into perspective for you.


"In the first eight months of 2010, 7.1 million foreign travelers flew to Mexico, up 19.2% from the same period last year. Of those visitors, 4.33 million were from the U.S., 1.3 million from Canada and 200,513 from Spain, according to Mexican tourism officials."

There were 111 murders in all of 2010 out of 7.1 million tourists to Mexico.

I can't say for sure, but it would be my considered opinion that tourists are much more likely to be crime victims than residents. It just makes sense doesn't it.
I know of no North American victims of organized criminal group violence in the Guadalajara or at Lake Chapala. If you have evidence of any such violence please comment below this article.
Comments are solicited for facts, not hearsay, or rumor. There‘s a place for all of these, but not in response to this post.
The goal is to inform, not to inflame passions one way or the other. Documented news accounts are welcome if they relate to Lake Chapala Mexico.
Jalisco is a large and varied Mexican State so merely accounts of violence in Jalisco, while important, are not the focus of this article. Crime is very local in nature. Let’s try and stay focused on the situation at Lake Chapala, Mexico.

While in Texas recently I watched some news accounts about Frisco, Texas. The reports were about a murder in a parking lot. It shocked the local inhabitants, as it was only the second murder in many years. Frisco, Texas has been cited as one of the lowest crime areas in the USA.
Here’s quote from about Frisco, Texas.
 “Frisco is an affluent city in Collin and Denton Counties in the U.S. state of Texas and a rapidly growing suburb of Dallas. As of the 2010 Census, 116,989 people were living in Frisco up from 33,714 in the previous census. Frisco was the fastest growing city in the United States in 2009,[3] and also the fastest growing city in the nation from 2000-2009.”


Frisco is about the same population as the combined estimated population of Jocotepec and Chapala. These  two municipalities cover almost all of the area where North Americans live along the North Shore of Lake Chapala.
To the best of my knowledge there have only been two North Americans murdered in the last 6 or 7 years. One was believed to be a case of mistaken identity and one was a recent robbery where the victim was shot (according the culprits who were arrested) because he knew them and he threatened to identify them to the police.
I think most of us who live here are being a bit more careful with so much crime news (this is a good thing) but, we don't live in fear either.
The ladies still tell me that they feel safe to walk alone (even after dark) in our towns and villages at Lake Chapala.
So, let’s all keep our perspective on just how bad crime is at Lake Chapala and do our part to have less of it by using common sense to avoid being a victim, watching after neighbors, and notifying local police of any suspicious activity.
All for now, Siempre tu amigo,


  • Augie

    sid – what a really nice drawing of you!!

  • Sid Grosvenor

    Hi Augie, Not sure, but I think the photo was taken around 1974 or so. Thanks, You made my day. Tu amigo, Sid

  • Sid Grosvenor

    Hi Everyone, I just read a very good article on SAfety in our area. Here’s the link if you want to see a “Different Perspective”. Tu amigo, Sid

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