Those of us who have made Mexico our home feel that the media often stereotypes the entire country as being overrun with crime, poverty, and unrest. In some of the border towns, that might be the case, but it’s certainly not true in the Lake Chapala area.
In fact, as in any other country in the world, those things also exist in Mexico. But when compared with the US or Canada, the statistics in Mexico are a great deal lower.
When newcomers to Mexico see the large number of law officers holding machine guns, they assume they are in danger — either from criminals or the police themselves.
By US standards, there does seem to be an inordinate number of officers, but to those who live here, the officers are seen as a reassuring presence for law-abiding citizens, and a warning to the criminal element … and that is how it is intended.
Serious crime is rare in the Lake Chapala area; and it’s much safer to live here than many places north of the border. It’s even more rare for serious crime to involve the Expat community.
However, it is recommended that residents follow the Mexican example of not placing temptation in the path of would-be criminals, but this simply means using common sense, such as locking your doors.
In keeping with the “low profile” philosophy, most Mexican homes are surrounded by high walls and have decorative iron bars over the windows.