Is Mexico Safer than the U.S.?

by Patrick Osio Here comes Easter break again and young people will be young people; high school and college kids will travel to distant places where the drinking age is either less than it is in the U.S. or where authorities don’t care to enforce minors’ drinking laws. For several decades Mexico has been one such place of choice where the legal drinking age is 18. Mazatlan, Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta and Cancun were the "fly-to" favorite places and Rosarito Beach and Ensenada the favorite "drive-to" places from Southern California. But not this year, or for that matter neither was it last year. Our government and the U.S. media have convinced most Americans that Mexico is not a safe place to visit as drug traffickers are fighting it out to see which gang will have the right to sell their illicit drugs to the very group that will not be visiting Mexico. They will have to wait until they return from Easter break to get their Mexican smuggled drugs at home. But what really struck me was that the preferred country to visit this Easter break in lieu of Mexico is the Dominican Republic. It struck me because Dominica is rated as the number one country with the highest propensity for crime in the world. According to facts gathered by, their total crime per 1,000 residents (per capita) is 113.822 –Compared to the U.S. that is 8th in the world in total crimes at 80.0645 per 1000 residents, making chances of being a victim of a crime in Dominica better than 10%, and slightly less than an 8% chance of being a victim in the U.S. But here is the real clunker: Mexico, the country our government tells us not to visit and the media has a field day reporting any crime be it significant or not to further put the fear of God into staying away from there – well, it ranks 39th in total crime in the world with a per capita of slightly less than 13 crimes per 1000 residents that is a 1.3% chance of being a victim of crime in Mexico. So Mexico is out, Dominica is in, yet the chances of being a crime victim there is greater than in the U.S. and the chances of being a crime victim in the U.S. is greater than in Mexico. But, for our own safety we need to stay out of Mexico. Have you ever felt like you’re being duped but you can’t quite put your finger on why; what’s the motive? Is it to keep us from facing some bitter truths? We keep reading how crime is down, how safe we are compared to most other parts of the world. But is it true? So here are some multiple choice questions for you: 1. Which country has a higher crime rate per 1,000 residents? Mexico, b. Germany, c. Canada, d. U.S. 2. Which country has the highest murders with firearms? Mexico, b. El Salvador, c. U.S. 3. Of the following countries, which has the least number of drug offenses? a. Germany, b. United Kingdom, c. Canada, d. Switzerland, e. Mexico 4. Which country has the most prisoners? a. United States, b. China, c. Russia, d. India, e. Mexico (Answers: 1. d. U.S., 2. c. U.S., 3. e. Mexico, 4. a. U.S.) In one of the only bright spots due to its recent gang related murders, Mexico, on a per capita, ranks as more dangerous than the U.S. occupying No. 24 and Mexico No. 6 in the world, but in total number of murders the U.S. is No. 5 and Mexico No. 6. In fact, much of the crime data per capita 1000 population suggests that in many respects Mexico is safer than the U.S.: in assaults the U.S. ranks No. 6, Mexico No. 20; burglaries the U.S. No. 17, Mexico No. 34; car thefts U.S. No. 9, Mexico No. 22; fraud U.S. No. 18, Mexico No. 29; Rape (Canada No.5), U.S. No. 9, Mexico No. 17. No doubt that, at the expense of Mexico, we are being duped. Is it to hide our insatiable appetite for illicit drugs and cheap labor, and so by pointing the finger of guilt to the biggest supplier of both we exculpate our actions or, at minimum, pacify our own guilt? Maybe it's time for "the home of the free, and land of the brave" to take note. Patrick Osio is Editor of He can be reached at:
2011-02-26 02:57:47