Mexico - Safety Tips
As much as I love my country I must accept that, since the start of the economic crisis in 1995, insecurity and delinquency have increased in Mexico. In general, pickpockets and house burglars are not that common, but car theft is. Also, kidnappings do occur.
Always insure your car, bought or rented. Never park in dark, lonely or far away streets. Try to use a public parking lot whenever you can, versus parking on the street. Highly visual tools for preventing car theft, such as those driving-wheel bars are still one of the most effective ways to deter burglars.
Before going anywhere, like the doctor’s office, find out in advance whether parking space is available for patients/customers. If it is not, get there earlier to have enough time to find the safest and nearest parking spot.
There are 'express' kidnappings in which kidnappers will take any valuables from you and/or will take you to one or more ATMs to withdraw as much money as possible. Ransom kidnappings usually take place among well-known or wealthy families. Attend places that are known to be safe. Do not wear fine jewelry or dress in a flashy manner. Be alert to any one following you.
Kidnappings and holdups in taxis have also increased, thus the previous recommendations about boarding taxis at hotels or restaurants are important. To avoid picking a taxi from the road, always go to the nearest taxi stand, you can be almost sure they are legitimate. To be on the safe side, if a taxi driver turns aggressive on you, do not argue or fight with him.
At hotels, leave your valuables and travel documents in the safe.
Mexican men are usually respectful and polite towards women. However, if a man looks at you insistently and this bothers you, look away and walk away from him immediately. Refrain from going to nightclubs, bars or canteens where there are few other women or none.
- To keep children safe, it's a good idea to prepare them in advance.
- Teach children their name, address, telephone number and parents’ names
- Tell them that if it doesn’t feel right, it’s OK to say NO
- Tell them not to get into the car or walk with a stranger. If your child has to be picked up by someone else, make sure you have agreed on a secret code, so they can identify the person correctly.
- Tell them not to let a stranger take a picture of them.
- Tell them not to approach a car if somebody is asking for directions or claims to have lost a pet.
- Do not have your child wear clothing or anything else where the name is visible.
- Never, ever leave them in a car by themselves, nor let them go out to the street to play, unless you live in a gated neighborhood.
- If you decide to leave your child with your domestic employee, be sure to leave a telephone number where you can be reached in case of emergency.
- Most domestic employees are honest and reliable. However, it is best to get to know them really well before routinely leaving young children with them.
- Try to pick your children up from school yourself (or have someone in the family do it), rather than sending your driver/chauffer routinely.
As parents, we should listen to our children carefully and watch for any warning signs they may be giving us indirectly. Make sure you know your children's friends, teachers etc.