Thankfully organized crime has not made it to Merida in any noticeable way. In fact, Merida and its surrounding state, Yucatan, are considered among the safest places in the country. While reliable stats are hard to come by, what is out there - and I'd say most foreigners living here would agree - suggests that Merida is much safer than most US cities. Like any city of a million people, petty crime and property theft happen but violent crime is rare.
We have always felt very safe in Merida. On our trip last month we met a expat who told us how safe she feals there as a single female. She also said she no longer feels safe returning to the U.S. due to experiencing a armed robbery on her last trip north. I would agree with her that Merida is safer than many places in the U.S.
As said, Merida and the Yucatan State, always rank among the safest places in Mexico. I read recently , also one of the best paid State police forces in Mexico and as often happens, you get what you pay for. Very different from the adjoining Sate of Quintana Roo where Cancun is located. There, I am concerned about safety.
Violent crime is relatively rare; property crime is common. I've only rarely felt my personal safety threatened (and only times when I wasn't where I should have been), but have been victim to petty theft. After all, it's a city of a million people and many of them are poor. Always be aware of your surroundings and who is around you. Don't leave valuables where anyone might be tempted. And most important of all, don't bring anything to Mexico you can't afford to lose.
"Reports of drug gangs in Mexico"
"Don't take anything to Mexico you can't afford to lose"
All this painting this giant country with one broad brushstroke is so irritating. Look at the news articles, not just the headlines. If I only read alarmist headlines I wouldn't return to the US, ever.
True anywhere, but happened to us in Merida, ladies,esp. at night in a restaurant/bar or any public area, do not place your purse on the outside of your booth.. Kids grab and run. Also on the beach, watch your beach bag!
Not sure why you singled my comment out, Mr. Lawson. Unless you're going to tell me you don't live with bars on the windows or in a gated, guarded community.
As someone who has had all his luggage stolen from the locked trunk of his car, I think I can stand behind my statement. Don't bring anything to Mexico you can't afford to lose. I followed that advice, and so when everything I had with me was stolen, it didn't ruin my visit.
Have to say, I usually agree with EJ but in this case inclined to agree with Bill Lawson. Maybe it is just that I would not single out Mexico as in " Don't bring anything to Mexico you can't afford to lose." I think that likely should apply to any place you travel and not only Mexico.
And will add, while I don't know about Bill Lawson, but I don't have bars or live in a gated community. My place in Merida is in a real Mexican neighborhood with not another gringo in sight.
Robert, I don't know where you live, but there is no where in Merida I've been where people don't live behind walls, bars (protectores), or gates, with locks on everything. You are the exception, not the rule.
Great thing about Google maps is you can "drive" virtually around the city. Go into any neighborhood and see the same thing--property is protected. For someone like me, who has lived in cities and in small towns, it was a bit of a culture shock. The only other experience I'd had with so much security was when I stayed for a while with a friend in downtown Washington D.C.
Where we agree is that yes, it probably is a good idea not to ever travel anywhere with anything you can't afford to lose. For women, don't travel with heirloom jewelry, for example. But in my experience, property theft is far more common in Yucatan, Merida, the beach, the pueblos--then I have experienced anywhere I've lived and most places I've traveled. But maybe I don't get out much. YMMV.
My place is in a middle class Colonia with almost all Mexicans and few expats. A very safe neighborhood where my neighbors on both sides often leave their doors wide open. Of course, some do have bars on their doors and windows but I find that to be true in all of Mexico and not just this area. I could be wrong but to me, seems to be more a cultural thing than a safety thing. But everyone has to travel in a way that makes them feel secure. I often read about Travelers in Mexico locking up their laptops and other items in hotel safes. I usually stay in small locally owned hotels and leave my laptop connected on the desk during my entire stay. So far, never a problem.