Is it safe to live in the Ajijic-Lake Chapala area?
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.
The Expatriate community is especially well-regarded due to the fact that we provide a substantial boost to the economy, as well as supporting and/or managing many charitable causes and programs.
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. As mentioned above, 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.
“Anyone paying attention knows that Mexico’s most dangerous and violent crimes are related to organized criminal activities such as selling and distributing drugs.
Like all business efforts, the sale of drugs in Mexico is competitive, especially in tourist areas. Disputes between rival drug dealers are often settled by very visible displays involving guns. One bad guy protects his territory by eliminating the competition.
So stay out of the drug business and chances are, you’ll be perfectly safe living in Mexico.” (International Living Magazine)