A Retired Cop’s View of Lake Chapala Crime

October 19, 2011

 “If it bleeds it leads” is an old newspaper expression meaning that if there’s blood, sensationalism of some sort, or other shocking content then it will be on the front page at the top of the page.(Above the fold).
The media in too much of North America are willing to paint everything South of the USA border with the the same wide brush, making little distinction between one part of Mexico and another.
Every one of my clients tells me the same thing when they’ve shared their intentions to visit our area of Mexico with family and friends.
They say their family and friends say something like, “Are you crazy!”
Then, when they actually buy a home here and begin to live the dream of a caviar lifestyle on a tuna fish pension, they hear, “Aren’t you afraid to live there.”
Here’s the truth. There are incidents of horrible violence on both sides of the border.
Living here or North of the border is as safe as you make it. Your individual conduct tempered with some good old fashioned common sense has much more with your personal safety than where you find yourself at any particular time, either North or South of the border.
I have lived here full time now for many years, And, to be honest, I 've been a victim of crime more frequently in Texas than in Mexico.
I was shot at in Van Zant County, had a Dallas County home burglarized 3 times, a travel trailer stolen out of my driveway in Mesquite Texas, and UPS deliveries stolen off the front porch on several occasions.
At Lake Chapala in over 11 years I’ve had a car radio taken from an unlocked car, a battery taken from an old truck parked on the street, and a cell phone snagged through a partially open window. 
I now have learned to always close the window all the way and lock the car doors.
Yes, our area has recently experienced some more serious crime, but there’s only been 2 North Americans killed here in the last 6 or 7 years from Chapala to Jocotepec (about a thirty mile stretch of the North Shore) where the vast bulk of North Americans live.
The vast majority of the crime that occurs here is petty theft. There’s a very low incidence of personal attacks of any kind.
The ladies here feel safe to walk along unescorted even after dark in our towns and villages at Lake Chapala.
My suggestion is to come down and see for yourself. Talk to the North Americans who live here.
If it makes you feel better, many Mexican people are afraid to go to the USA. Why?
Because, they see all the violence that happens there. Yes, the Mexican press uses the same criteria of what makes the news as the US Press.
Plus, they hear about all the Security Alerts that are issued for various parts of the USA.
Each person filters what they hear, their personal experiences, and news accounts of crime to determine their own level of fear or lack thereof.
So now, you have my sense of the crime and violence in our area of Mexico.
I do not see Mexico in general or Lake Chapala in particular as a dangerous place to live by comparison with Texas.
Each person has to make up their own mind about what level of safety overall is right for them.

We all want total safety, low prices, good infrastructure, friendly people and great weather. For me and an estimated 20,000 plus other North Americans Lake Chapala strikes the right balance. All for now. Siempre tu amigo, Photobucket

  • Arlene Cooney

    I totally agree Sid – last few times we were in Ajijic my husband and I walked at night and in some places there was hardly any light and I never felt threatened – here in Vancouver, I have not walked at night in over 20 years. I pray Ajijic continues to be the place I feel so safe in – it is such a jewel for retirement.

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