Writer Sandra Berry responds to concerns about Los Cabos travel
If you are considering a trip to Los Cabos or are already on your way, you should know there is no travel advisory in effect for Los Cabos. Nor has there ever been one. Having lived in major metropolitan cities in the United States in the past, I can honestly say unequivocally that I feel safer living in Los Cabos than in any of those areas. And I am not alone. It’s estimated that more than1 million U.S. expats reside in México, with as many as 80 percent of us in Baja California Sur.
Social or public safety is the risk of harm due to criminal acts such as assault, burglary, or vandalism. Los Cabos ranks very low on the scale that governs this equation. I asked many of my friends who come to visit what happens when they tell their friends and loved ones they are going to México. Apparently they get a lot of “I wouldn’t go there for anything!” and “It isn’t safe!” Obviously, these concerned loved ones back home have been saturated by media reports of the violence involving drug cartels and turf battles between criminal groups in the country of México. (Note: These reports are focused on regions of México that are geographically far removed from Los Cabos and the Baja Peninsula.)
There are plenty of things that scare us. I personally would be fearful if I were living in the United States and had a child in school because of the unfortunate happenings in recent years at public schools. When I lived in Phoenix, Arizona, I was afraid to take my car out at night because of drive-by shootings. When I lived in Houston, Texas, my condo was burglarized on three occasions. I visit San Diego often and avoid certain areas because of gang-related stories. These stories don’t make the international news as much as what happens in México. Granted, terrible events have occurred in México and some—very few—unfortunately involved tourists. It does not mean that those incidents are the norm. Crime is everywhere, not just in México.
Other friends reported their loved ones said that if they had a reason to go to México, for business or pleasure, they would go in a heartbeat. But, they hastened to say they would keep alert and be aware of their surroundings, just as they would anywhere else in the world. They said they would avoid suspect areas, stay where there are other people, and restrict their travels to the sections of the area that are populated by other tourists.
Some of the problems that have occurred in México were actually caused by visitors to the area. People sometimes seem to think they can do anything and act any way they want when they are in México. Essentially, the police are much more tolerant of tourists’ antics than U.S. police would be under similar circumstances. When the police here have had enough, yes, they will take troublemakers to jail and, no, it is not a pleasant place to be. In the majority of cases, individuals bring it upon themselves.
The Baja Insider website put the U.S. State Department travel warning—and the lack of warning for Baja California Sur—in perspective: “A trip to Baja California Sur is just about as dangerous as a trip to Vermont.” The state has the fifth-lowest crime rate in the entire country, and statistics from PGR (the Mexican equivalent of the FBI) reveal that foreigners in México are even less likely to be affected by petty crime than their Mexican-born neighbors. Read the entire article on www.bajainsider.com.
To miss the experience of visiting this beautiful, historic, and culturally diverse country because of bad press and incidents that rarely occur and even more rarely involve tourists, would be a pity. So, pack your bag, get on a plane and come on down. The sun is shining, the weather is perfect, and it is safe!